Archive | UT Martin Football

Favre selected for 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team

Favre selected for 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team

Posted on 03 June 2015 by Allen

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Former University of Tennessee at Martin quarterback Dylan Favre has been selected as one of 45 United States football players to be selected to play on the 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team, assembled by USA Football.

The team will compete in the fifth International Federation of American Football World Championship, a seven-nation tournament held July 9-18 in Canton, Ohio. IFAF works with 78 countries – spanning six continents – which possess national federations dedicated solely to American football.

A native of Kiln, Miss., Favre joins the roster after finishing a two-year career under center for the Skyhawks. A former Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer, Favre used both his arm and legs to move the Skyhawk offense, notching 276 career rushing yards along with a pair of rushing touchdowns while through the air he accumulated 1,746 yards and 15 passing touchdowns. He led the OVC while ranking second in the nation in completion percentage as a junior, converting 71.1 percent of attempts.

The U.S. Men’s National Team includes athletes from 24 states and will compete in a field against national teams from Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. The IFAF World Championship has been held every four years since 1999. In 2011, the United States defeated Canada, 50-7, for the gold medal in Vienna, Austria. The U.S. beat Japan, 23-20, in double overtime in Kawasaki, Japan, to win the 2007 tournament, the first that included a team from the United States.

The U.S. Men’s National Team is led by former Boise State and Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins. Hawkins was 53-11 at Boise State from 2001-05, winning four consecutive Western Athletic Conference titles. His teams compiled a 31-game WAC winning streak, the longest in conference history. His five seasons at Colorado (2006-10) included a win over No. 3 Oklahoma in 2007, the same year he led the Buffaloes to the Independence Bowl.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted IFAF provisional recognition in December 2013. Provisional recognition is the initial step toward permanent IOC membership, which IFAF could attain as early as 2016. IFAF’s permanent IOC membership would make American football eligible for a future vote to become part of the Summer Olympics lineup.

All games will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and available via live stream or ESPN3. Matchups are July 9, 12 and 15 with consolation games and the medal round on Saturday, July 18. Kickoffs are noon, 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on July 9, 12, 15 and 18 to determine gold, silver and bronze medal winners.

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Skyhawks Spring Practice Begins March 17th

Skyhawks Spring Practice Begins March 17th

Posted on 13 March 2015 by Allen

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The University of Tennessee at Martin football team begins its 2015 spring practice schedule on Tuesday, March 17 at Hardy Graham Stadium.

Tuesday’s practice is the first of 15 practices over the span of 30 days for the Skyhawks, who are coming off a 6-6 overall record with a 5-3 Ohio Valley Conference mark in 2014. UT Martin concluded the season as one of the hottest teams in the Football Championship Subdivision ranks, winning five of its last six games with the only setback coming to Football Bowl Subdivision No. 1 Mississippi State.

Skyhawk head coach Jason Simpson will return 13 starters (seven on defense, six on offense) in 2015, which will be his 10th season at the helm. UT Martin officially opens the 2015 schedule with a road game at FBS member Ole Miss on Sept. 5.

During the course of the spring season, the Skyhawks will conduct three scrimmages with Saturday, April 11 serving as the annual spring game. The three scrimmages are scheduled to take place on April 3, (9:30 a.m.), April 11 (10 a.m.) and April 15 (7 p.m.)

All practices are open to the public. Dates and times are subject to change. A complete spring practice schedule is listed below:
*Tuesday, March 17, 3:50 p.m.
*Wednesday, March 18, 6:45 p.m.
*Thursday, March 19, 3:50 p.m.
*Monday, March 23, 3:50 p.m.
*Tuesday, March 24, 3:50 p.m.
*Thursday, March 26, 3:50 p.m.
*Tuesday, March 31, 3:50 p.m.
*Thursday, April 2, 3:50 p.m.
*Friday, April 3, 9:30 a.m. (scrimmage)
*Monday, April 6, 3:50 p.m.
*Tuesday, April 7, 3:50 p.m.
*Thursday, April 9, 3:50 p.m.
*Saturday, April 11, 10 a.m. (scrimmage)
*Monday, April 13, 3:50 p.m.
*Wednesday, April 15, 7 p.m. (scrimmage)

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Skyhawks add 19 on Signing Day

Skyhawks add 19 on Signing Day

Posted on 05 February 2015 by Allen

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In conjunction with National Signing Day, University of Tennessee at Martin head football coach Jason Simpson announced the signings of 19 players at a press conference in the Boling University Center this afternoon.

“I love this class,” said Simpson, who will enter his 10th season at the helm of the Skyhawk program in 2015. “They understand the UT Martin way.”

The aforementioned 19 players, in addition to six signees who joined the program on Mid-Year Signing Day in December, were highlighted in short video clips with analysis from Simpson at the press conference.

Overall, Simpson and his staff added 14 players on offense and 11 players on defense. The UT Martin coaching staff signed 12 players from the state of Tennessee, five players from Florida, four players from Mississippi and one player each from Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina and Texas.

The winningest active coach in the Ohio Valley Conference, Simpson boasts a 58-45 record in his Skyhawk tenure and has posted a .634 winning percentage in OVC games (45-26).

Kyle Akin, QB, 6-2, 200, Fr., Jackson, Tenn. (Trinity Christian Academy)
Broke multiple passing records under head coach Blake Butler at nearby Trinity Christian Academy in Jackson…Led the Lions to two District 15A championships and a Class 2A state semifinalist berth in 2013…Wrapped up his career as the TSSAA all-time leader in career passing yards (11,131)…Was named All-West Tennessee Player of the Year by the Jackson Sun and the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Class A Back of the Year as a senior…Posted a 30-16 record as a four-year starter, including a 20-4 mark in his junior and senior campaigns…Completed 68.3 percent of his passes (218-for-319) for 3,265 yards and 42 touchdowns against six interceptions as a senior…Also added 50 rushing attempts for 332 yards and three more touchdowns…Tossed six touchdowns each in back-to-back weeks against South Gibson and Scotts Hill…Threw five touchdown passes – including a game-winner with four seconds remaining – against Evangelical Christian School…Participated in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game, passing for a game-high 68 yards on 7-of-11 passing for the West team in a 28-16 victory.

Brandon Anderson, DB, 5-10, 180, Fr., Frisco, Texas (Centennial HS)
Joins the Skyhawks out of Centennial High School, where he was a shutdown cornerback for head coach Mark Howard…Made 122 tackles his senior season, including six games of double-digit stops and a pair of 20-plus tackle games…Best game of the season came on Nov. 7 when he tallied 21 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble against The Colony…Added 71 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a junior…Compiled four sacks against McKinney North on Sept. 13, 2013.

Preston Baker, RB, 5-10, 215, Jr., Starkville, Miss. (East Mississippi CC)
Helped lead East Mississippi Community College to back-to-back NJCAA national championships and an unblemished 24-0 record in the past two seasons under head coach Buddy Stephens…Tallied team-highs in rushing attempts (119), rushing yards (615) and touchdowns (10) with only one fumble in 2014…Also added 21 receptions for 227 yards and three more touchdowns…Set new season-highs in carries (17), rushing yards (86) and touchdowns (three) against Mississippi Delta Community College on Oct. 23…Recorded 86 carries for 481 yards and six touchdowns with only one fumble as a freshman in 2013…Tallied 11 catches for 156 yards and three touchdowns during his freshman campaign…Was a standout tailback at Starkville High School for head coach Jamie Mitchell…Helped the Yellowjackets win the Class 5A state championship in 2012, capping off a 12-3 season and the first state title for the school since 2001…Rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown in the 2012 Mississippi Class 5A state title win over Pascagoula…Tallied 16 rushing touchdowns during his senior campaign.

Rakeem Battle, DB, 5-10, 170, So., Lake City, Fla. (Southwest Mississippi CC)
Attended Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, Miss. as a freshman…Made 23 tackles with three pass breakups in eight games for head coach Tucker Peavey…Made at least three tackles in six of his eight contests…Also served as the Bears’ kickoff returner in five games, tallying 301 yards on seven returns…Had a 95-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff of the game against Copiah-Lincoln Community College on Sept. 18…Prepped at Columbia High School for head coach Brian Allen…Helped the Tigers post 10 wins and make a state playoff appearance during his senior campaign…Was a Class 6A all-state third team defensive player in 2013.

Olandrious Booker, OL, 6-5, 350, Jr., Lambert, Miss. (Hinds CC)
Played at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss. for head coach Gene Murphy…Helped the Eagles go 12-7 overall in his two seasons…Earned Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges all-state honorable mention accolades as a sophomore…Helped pave the way for a HCC offense that ranked 25th nationally in scoring (28.6 points per game) and averaged 373.1 yards per contest…Helped block for an offense that posted averages of 35.2 points (19th nationally) and 421.6 yards per game in 2013…Prepped at MS Palmer High School in Parks, Miss., where he played for head coach Aaron Holden…Was part of a Dragon team that went 6-4 during his senior season.

Jamie Bowe, RB, 5-11, 195, Fr., Spartanburg, SC (Fork Union Military Academy)
Prepped at prestigious Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va., where he played for longtime head coach John Shuman…Also Played at Spartanburg High School in South Carolina for head coach Freddie Brown…Earned Region II-4A all-region accolades after tallying 198 carries for 1,122 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior in 2012…Led the Vikings with 1,375 all-purpose yards, also adding 17 receptions for 212 yards and a touchdown…Rushed for four touchdowns in the second half alone in a 49-35 win over Mauldin during his senior campaign…Tallied 111 rushing yards on 28 carries in the Region II-4A title game against Gaffney.

Joey Cave, DL, 6-5, 275, Fr., Knoxville, Tenn. (Hardin Valley Academy)
Was a standout performer on both lines at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, where he started at tackle on both sides of the ball for head coach Wes Jones…Helped the Hawks to a 6-5 record after tallying 58 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks and a fumble recovery as a senior, earning 2014 All-Region 4AAA accolades…Best game of the season came on Sept. 5 when he registered season-highs of seven tackles and two sacks against William Blount.

Isaac Chapman, OL, 6-4, 305, Oak Ridge, Tenn. (Oak Ridge HS)
Anchored the offensive line for head coach Joe Gaddis at Oak Ridge High School…Played guard for a Wildcat team that went 12-1 overall, averaged 37 points and 297 yards per game…Was named a Knoxville News Sentinel second team All-PrepXtra selection after being selected as a 5A Preseason all-state honoree by the Chatanoogan newspaper…Played in the Kentucky-Tennessee National Guard Border Bowl in Williamsburg, Ky. in January.

Donald Cofield, Jr., DL, 6-3, 300, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (Whitehaven HS)
Prepped at Whitehaven High School under head coach Rodney Saulsberry…Helped guide the Tigers to a 14-1 overall record in 2014, earning Memphis Commercial Appeal first team All-District 16AAA defensive tackle honors…Also attended Mitchell High School, where he was named a Memphis Commercial Appeal first team All-District 16 offensive lineman and honorable mention defensive end in 2013…Played in the 13th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game in Memphis.

Julian Crutchfield, DL, 6-5, 265, Fr., Lebanon, Tenn. (Lebanon HS)
Was a valuable two-way player (defensive end and tight end) for head coach Sam Harp at Lebanon High School…Earned All-District 9AAA accolades at defensive end for the Blue Devils, leading the squad in both tackles for loss and sacks while also falling on a pair of fumble recoveries in 2014…Helped the West team to a 28-16 win in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game.

Terry Fultz, DL, 6-6, 250, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (Ridgeway HS)
Prepped at Ridgeway High School under head coach Duron Sutton, helping guide the Roadrunners to a 12-2 record in 2014…Earned Class 5A first team all-state defensive lineman accolades by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association after wrapping up 71 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior in 2013…Also earned second team All-District 15AAA honors at defensive end as a sophomore…Highlighted by Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper as a “Best of the Preps” honoree in 2014…Played in the 13th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game in Memphis.

Malik Harris, LB, 6-2, 215, Fr., Nashville, Tenn. (Maplewood HS)
Played at Maplewood High School under head coach Arcentae Broome…Racked up 105 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four forced fumbles and 30 quarterback hurries in his senior season alone…Also scored a pair of touchdowns (one rushing, one punt return) in 2014…Transferred to Maplewood halfway through his junior season after also playing at Pope John Paul II High School…Accumulated 57 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and eight quarterback hurries in only five games during his junior campaign at Maplewood…Earned 2014 Metro Coaches Association all-city team honors and was also named as a top metro recruit by the Tennessee Tribune.

Parrish Huddleston, DL, 6-0, 290, Sr., Dorsey, Miss. (UAB)
Joins the Skyhawks out of UAB, a Football Bowl Subdivision team who was a member of Conference USA…Played in 11 games last season for head coach Bill Clark, helping the Blazers to a bowl-eligible season for the first time in a decade…Made 16 tackles – including three tackles for loss and two sacks while also blocking a kick…Had a season-high five tackles at Arkansas on Oct. 25 and concluded the season with sacks in back-to-back games against Marshall and Southern Miss…Played his junior season for head coach Ricky Smither at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Miss….Tallied 22 tackles with two sacks and three tackles for loss in six games in 2013…Prepped at Baldwyn High School, where he was a first team all-state defensive tackle…Named as one of the state’s top 10 defensive tackles by Mississippi Gridiron.

Dan Jensen, OL, 6-4, 305, Jr., Wamego, Kan. (Butler CC)
Played for head coach Troy Morrell at the prestigious Butler Community College program in El Dorado, Kan….Helped the Grizzlies post an 8-3 record while blocking for one of the most dynamic offenses in the junior college ranks in 2014, as BCC piled up 474.7 yards and 45.3 points per game…Was part of a NJCAA Region VI championship team in 2013, as the Grizzlies went 9-2 and advanced to a bowl game…Blocked for an offense that accumulated 384.7 yards and 35.5 points per game during his freshman season…Attended Wamego High School, where he manned both lines for head coach Dale Burkholder…Was named a first team offensive lineman while leading the Raiders to the NCKL championship in 2012 – a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since 1984.

Koreyon Jordan, LB, 6-2, 225, Fr., Nashville, Tenn. (Pearl-Cohn HS)
Prepped for head coach Tony Brunetti at Pearl-Cohn High School, helping the Firebirds to an 11-3 record in 2014…Wrapped up 110 tackles, eight tackles for loss, seven sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries during his senior season…Earned 2014 Metro Coaches Association all-city team honors and was also named as a top metro recruit by the Tennessee Tribune…Helped the West team to a 28-16 win in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game, tallying five tackles with a tackle for loss, forced fumble and pass breakup.

Chance Key, TE, 6-5, 225, Fr., Brilliant, Ala. (Brilliant HS)
Played at Brilliant High School, the same program that produced former Skyhawk All-American offensive lineman Joe Gibbs (2006-09)…Playing for head coach Jarrod Helms, Key played quarterback and led the Tigers to a 7-5 record and second round playoff appearance in 2013…Headed an offense that produced 26.8 points per game, including a season-high 68 points against Vina on Sept. 27…Completed nine of his 12 pass attempts for 191 yards and three touchdowns while rushing nine times for 194 yards and three touchdowns in the aforementioned win over Vina…Rushed 22 times for 256 yards and four touchdowns against Marion County to lead BHS to its first 1A playoff berth in a decade.

Jaylon Moore, WR, 6-2, 180, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (Mitchell HS)
Was a standout wide receiver at Mitchell High School under head coach Vernon Woods…Earned Class 2A all-state honors by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association while also garnering first team All-District 16A accolades…Accumulated 1,147 receiving yards on 53 receptions as a senior, hauling in 15 touchdowns while adding another rushing score…Recorded 15 tackles with three interceptions on defense in 2014…Helped the Tigers to the Class 2A state quarterfinals as a junior…Highlighted by Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper as a “Best of the Preps” honoree in 2014…Helped the West team to a 28-16 win in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game.

Austin Newsom, OL, 6-5, 325, Fr., Charlotte, Tenn. (Creek Wood HS)
Was a mainstay on both lines for head coach Chuck Daniel at Creek Wood High School…Tallied 65 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and five pass breakups in 2014…Had a breakout game against East Hickman on Oct. 14, tallying two sacks, two drive-ending tackles for a loss and blocking a pass in a 48-24 victory…Ended his prep career with 120 tackles, 15 sacks and 10 passes defended…Was also an all-district offensive lineman…Played in the 2014 Offense Defense All-American Game in Orlando, Fla.

Tyrone Patterson, OL, 6-2, 315, Jr., Gautier, Miss. (Jones County JC)
Played for head coach David Thornton at Jones County Junior College, starting every game at offensive tackle in 2014…Earned second team All-Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges honors…Was the highest graded offensive lineman for every game…Helped the Bobcats go 9-2 with a MACJC South division title and final No. 8 ranking in 2013…Led the South team to a 23-13 win over the North squad in the 2014 MACJC All-Star Football Classic…Attended Gautier High School, where he was a standout nose guard for head coach Chris Peterson.

Anthony Pearson, DB, 6-0, 175, Fr., Vero Beach, Fla. (Vero Beach HS)
Prepped at Vero Beach High School, where he was a shutdown corner for head coach Lenny Jankowski…Led the Indians to an 11-1 record and a district 8A postseason berth in 2014…Snagged eight interceptions as a senior, which led the Treasure Coast…Tacked on 35 tackles and a fumble recovery in his first season as a starter on his way to an all-area first team selection…Was selected as a Scripps Super 11 honoree, which spotlights the top Treasure Coast area college prospects for the Class of 2014.

Kevin Prather, Jr., LB, 6-1, 200, Fr., Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Oakland HS)
Earned a reputation as one of the state’s best defensive players at Oakland High School under head coach Thomas McDaniel…Helped the Patriots finish with a 12-2 record in 2014, as OHS fell to eventual Class 6A state champion Maryville in the state semifinals…Compiled 119 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles as a senior, capturing Class 6A all-state honors by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association…Earned the title of District 7-AAA Defensive MVP on two different occasions by area coaches…Tallied 125 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and an interception with six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a junior…Racked up seven tackles for the East team in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game…Brother Casey was an All-American basketball player at the University of Florida (2010-14) and is currently playing in the NBA’s Developmental League.

Colton Sander, OL, 6-6, 320, Fr., Oviedo, Fla. (Oviedo HS)
Was a dominant offensive tackle for head coach Wes Allen at Oviedo High School…Helped guide the Lions to a 7-4 record in 2014 and a 6-4 mark as a junior…Helped block for an offense that generated 337.4 yards per game and 39 total touchdowns in 2013…Transferred to Oviedo High School after spending time at Winter Park’s Masters Academy.

Wilfred Taylor, WR, 5-8, 160, Fr., Daytona Beach, Fla. (Mainland HS)
Made a name as one of the best playmakers in the Sunshine State, as he helped Mainland High School post a 14-1 record under head coach Scott Wilson in 2014…The speedy Taylor hauled in 66 receptions for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior, helping the Buccaneers hold the No. 1 spot in the state’s 6A ranks for the majority of the season…Racked up 263 yards and four touchdowns in three postseason games, averaging 46 yards per touchdown reception…Was named a Class 6A all-state honorable mention selection by the Associated Press.

Chris Turner, Jr., TE, 6-5, 250, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (KIPP Collegiate School)
Displayed big play ability at KIPP Collegiate School under head coach Tim Thompson…Earned Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper first team All-District 16A honors on both offense (tight end) and defense (linebacker) for the Phoenix as a senior…Accounted for a pair of touchdowns (70-yard catch, 45-yard fumble recovery) in a 48-7 win over Rossville on Sept. 14, 2014…Was named to the Memphis Commercial Appeal “Best of the Preps” Tennessee 1A-2A-3A team as a junior…Hauled in a 60-yard touchdown pass against Rossville Christian on Sept. 13, 2013.

Lonnie Underwood, RB, 5-10, 195, Fr., Lake City, Fla. (Columbia HS)
Was a highly decorated all-purpose back for head coach Brian Allen at Columbia High School…Named Class 6A second team all-state in 2014 by the Associated Press…Scored five touchdowns and had 155 yards in a 42-14 win over Class 5A No. 2 Suwannee on Nov. 7, 2014…Rushed for over 1,100 yards and more than 20 touchdowns as a senior…Broke the school record for most touchdowns in a season (36) as a junior, helping the Tigers post 10 victories…Rushed for 236 yards and five touchdowns on only 16 carries in a 66-13 win over Jacksonville Terry Parker on Sept. 20, 2013…Came up big in the 2013 playoffs, rushing for 191 yards and three touchdowns in the Region 1-6A quarterfinal win over St. Augustine…Ran for almost 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns as the Tigers’ third-string tailback as a sophomore.

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Tony Bell to play in 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Tony Bell to play in 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Posted on 02 January 2015 by Allen

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University of Tennessee at Martin star linebacker Tony Bell will participate in the 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which will take place on Saturday, Jan. 17 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Bell, who has already been named a 2014 All-American by the Associated Press, College Sports Madness, Beyond Sports Network and The Sports Network, will line up against some of the nation’s best players from the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision ranks. This marks the third straight year that a Skyhawk has participated in a major postseason bowl, as Montori Hughes (2013 Senior Bowl) and Jeremy Butler (2014 Medal of Honor Bowl) also accomplished the feat. Hughes is currently in his second season with the Indianapolis Colts while Butler is in his first season with the Baltimore Ravens.

Founded in 2012, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is a premiere postseason all-star game for draft-eligible college players. The week-long schedule provides participants with a first-class professional experience while introducing them to the business of the National Football League. Former NFL head coaches Mike Holmgren and Mike Martz will serve as head coaches for this year’s game, which will take place at 3 p.m. CST and will be aired live on ESPN2. In addition, team practices on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15 will be televised live on ESPNU.

Bell recently wrapped up a remarkable four-year career at UT Martin. He racked up 237 tackles, 45 tackles for loss, a school-record 22.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions from 2011-14, helping guide the Skyhawks to 26 overall wins and a .625 winning percentage in Ohio Valley Conference play in that span.

The 6-1, 200-pound Memphis native led the OVC (and ranked ninth nationally) with 21 tackles for loss in 2014 after pacing the league with 15 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks as a junior in 2013, when he also garnered All-American accolades.

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Bell named Finalist for Buck Buchanan Award

Bell named Finalist for Buck Buchanan Award

Posted on 26 November 2014 by Allen

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The Sports Network has announced that University of Tennessee at Martin linebacker Tony Bell is amongst 25 finalists from across the Football Championship Subdivision ranks for the 2014 Buck Buchanan Award.

The Buck Buchanan Award, in its 20th year of existence, is annually rewarded to the most outstanding FCS defensive player. Voting started today for a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. The winner will be announced on Dec. 15 at The Sports Network FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation.

Bell, who was also recognized on the Preseason Buck Buchanan Award Watch List, is the only Ohio Valley Conference player who made the final cut.

The 6-1, 200-pound senior out of Memphis, Tenn. recently put the finishing touches on a dominant career. He led the OVC and ranked amongst the nation’s best in tackles-for-loss (21, ninth nationally) and fumble recoveries (three, sixth). He also ranked second in the league with eight sacks – seven of which came in conference play.

Bell also led the team with 76 tackles, 11 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. He added an interception and five pass breakups, even finding the endzone once on a 24-yard fumble recovery at nationally ranked Jacksonville State on Oct. 4.

For his career, Bell racked up a school record 22.5 sacks while also adding 237 tackles, 45 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

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4 Skyhawks earn OVC Honors

4 Skyhawks earn OVC Honors

Posted on 25 November 2014 by Allen

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The 2014 All-Ohio Valley Conference football teams were released this afternoon and four University of Tennessee at Martin players were voted as the league’s best by the head coaches and sports information directors.

Redshirt senior left tackle Charles Sweeton and senior linebacker Tony Bell were named to the All-OVC first team while senior running back Abou Toure claimed second team honors and redshirt junior linebacker Nick Dance was named to the OVC All-Newcomer squad. Jacksonville State claimed three of the four individual awards (Defensive Player of the Year Devaunte Sigler, Freshman of the Year Justin Lea, Coach of the Year John Grass) while Eastern Kentucky’s Dy’Shawn Mobley was voted as the Offensive Player of the Year.

A 6-5, 291-pound native of Lawrenceburg, Sweeton has helped anchor a Skyhawk offensive line that established itself as one of the best units in the league. Starting in all 46 games of his collegiate career, Sweeton helped block for a UT Martin team that averaged 30.2 points per game from 2011-14. He has graded out at 88 percent or better in every game in the last two years while conceding just one sack in that span, which led to an All-OVC second team nod in 2013 and Preseason All-American accolades in 2014.

Bell cemented his status as one of the best defensive players in program history this season when he broke the all-time record for sacks which had stood for 26 years. When the dust settled, the 6-1, 200-pound Memphis native had 5.5 more sacks than any other player who donned a UT Martin football uniform. He led the league and ranked in the top-10 in the country with 21 tackles-for-loss (ninth nationally) and three fumble recoveries (sixth nationally). Just yesterday, the Preseason All-American was named as one of 25 finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award, annually given to the most dominant defensive player in the FCS ranks.

Toure also rewrote UT Martin’s record book in 2014, as his 1,138 rushing yards ranked as the third-highest single-season total in program history. He racked up five 100-plus yard rushing performances – four of which came against OVC opposition. That included a dominant 234-yard, three-touchdown effort at Murray State on Nov. 1 that ranked as the most rushing yards by any OVC player in 2014 and the third-best performance in UT Martin history. The 6-2, 230-pound Framingham, Mass. native was responsible for three multi-touchdown performances, finding the endzone eight times overall.

A 5-11, 210-pound transfer out of Western Michigan University, Dance is the only linebacker on the 11-man OVC All-Newcomer squad. The Nashville native piled up 56 tackles, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one sack and an interception in his debut season as a Skyhawk. He tallied back-to-back season-high nine-tackle performances at Jacksonville State and against Tennessee Tech. He even found the scoreboard with a 32-yard interception return at Murray State on Nov. 1. He also forced a big turnover in the season finale at Eastern Illinois, causing a fumble on the Skyhawks’ 1-yard line to ensure UT Martin kept the lead.

The Skyhawks concluded the 2014 season with five straight OVC wins for just the second time in program history. Overall, UT Martin posted a 6-6 record with a 5-3 mark in league play – which ranks third in the conference standings. The 2014 campaign was UT Martin’s eighth season with an overall record of .500 or better since it joined the Division-I ranks in 1992. Six of the aforementioned eight seasons have occurred in head coach Jason Simpson’s nine-year tenure.

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Skyhawk duo picks up Adidas Accolades

Skyhawk duo picks up Adidas Accolades

Posted on 24 November 2014 by Allen

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Walter Evans and Jackson Redditt, both of the University of Tennessee at Martin football team, were recognized by the Ohio Valley Conference today for their remarkable performances in Saturday’s 37-16 win at Eastern Illinois. Evans was named adidas OVC Defensive Player of the Week while Redditt brought home adidas OVC Specialist of the Week honors.

The Skyhawk duo helped UT Martin to its fifth straight conference victory and a third-place finish in the OVC standings. UT Martin finished with a 6-6 overall record with a 5-3 league mark.

A 5-11, 175-pound redshirt junior safety out of Memphis, Evans was a difference maker for the Skyhawk defense that limited Eastern Illinois 19 points below its season average and held the Panthers scoreless for a stretch of 38:19 from the latter stages of the first quarter through the early portion of the fourth quarter.

After UT Martin went ahead 10-9 in the first quarter, Evans recovered a fumble on the Skyhawks’ 1-yard line that kept Eastern Illinois out of the endzone. Minutes later, he came away with his team-best third interception of the season at the UT Martin 47-yard line with 32 seconds left in the second quarter. That set up a big touchdown before the half that extended the Skyhawk lead from one to two possessions.

Evans concluded his season with 66 tackles, the third-best total on the team. All three of his interceptions came in conference play while he also added three tackles for loss, two pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one quarterback hurry in 12 games – all starts.

Redditt was clutch for the Skyhawks on Saturday, successfully splitting the uprights on three field goals (from 25, 22 and 52 yards out) and all four PAT opportunities for 13 points – the second game this season where Redditt has eclipsed double-digits in that category.

Redditt’s 25-yarder at the end of the first quarter gave the Skyhawks a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. His 22-yarder came on the opening possession of the second half to keep the momentum on the Skyhawks’ side while his 52-yarder late in the third quarter tied a career-long.

The 6-2, 190-pound redshirt junior from Mt. Juliet finished the season with 80 points (12-for-15 on field goal opportunities, 44-of-45 in PAT attempts). Redditt also averaged 57.5 yards with 22 touchbacks in 64 kickoff chances. His 80 percent field goal accuracy ranks second in the OVC and 19th nationally.

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Skyhawks eager to play #1 Bulldogs

Skyhawks eager to play #1 Bulldogs

Posted on 07 November 2014 by Allen

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When most children pick up a football for the first time their imaginations run wild but the scenario always appears. Facing the No. 1 team in the nation, you have to drive the field and pull off the upset. Today as the University of Tennessee at Martin football team embarks on the four-hour drive to Starkville, Mississippi, to face the top-ranked Mississippi State in hopes of that dream becoming a reality.

“Growing up I had the dreams of playing the No. 1 team in the nation and around that time it was Alabama but I always wanting to be the person that helped knock off the top team,” senior linebacker Tony Bell said. “At that time I was pretending to be on offense and I would be catching the winning touchdown and getting all the spotlight, but it was all a dream and this weekend I have the opportunity along with my teammates to make it a reality.”

While the Skyhawks are facing an uphill battle against the No. 1 team in the nation, the environment won’t be too different for many players on this year’s squad. Having made the 230 mile trip south just three years earlier, the Skyhawks are aware of what kind of environment they will be facing Saturday afternoon.

“It was my first big game and it just a great environment given it was the most people I’d ever played in front of and all the cowbells so it was lots of fun,” redshirt senior left tackle Charles Sweeton said. Sweeton is one of two current Skyhawks that started that game against the Bulldogs on November 5, 2011. The other is current starting left guard Matt Axline who had a few moments still on his mind to this day.

“I remember they had just painted the big M in the middle of the field as we came in for our walkthrough so we all had to take pictures with it,” Axline said. “Those first few steps you walk in and your breath is taken away.”

So far this season the newly renovated Wade Davis Stadium has produced a great home field advantage for the Bulldogs. This season, Mississippi State has hosted five home games with the average attendance pushing over 61,000 fans. Their largest crowd in school-history occurred four weeks ago when the Bulldogs defeated then No. 2 Auburn 38-23 in front of a crowd of 62,945.

“We know the sound will affect us some but we won’t be the first team because look what it did to Auburn earlier this year,” head coach Jason Simpson said. “If it’s loud I want it to be because our team is making plays that will force the crowd to get into the game.

The Skyhawks have been in situations against large and loud crowds before. The largest crowd UT Martin has faced during Simpson’s nine year tenure occurred on Sept, 4, 2010 when the Skyhawks faced off against the University of Tennessee in front of a crowd of 99,123.

Earlier this season, the Skyhawks opened the season at Kentucky whose attendance on Aug. 30 pushed just over 50,000 fans.

“I think we on the line are prepared for this since we have played against Memphis, Boise State and Kentucky but what makes this different is that they are the No. 1 team in the nation,” Axline said. “They play just like us and they put their pads on the same way as we do.”

While the Skyhawks lost to Mississippi State 55-17 on a mild 2011 night not all was lost. The UT Martin rushing attack picked up 269 yards on the ground and two scores but also 13 current Skyhawks saw the field. As the years have gone on, now eight are key pieces to the Skyhawks starting lineup.

“I got to make the trip my true freshman year and I definitely remember how loud the fans were so it makes a fun atmosphere and it’s just another great thing that college football can give you,” starting defensive back Taino Fears-Perez said. “Walking on the field for walkthrough was like a kid in a candy shop because I was a freshman straight out of high school and I just soaked it all in.”

Backup quarterback Dylan Favre had a different perspective of the game in 2011 as saw limited action but for Mississippi State.
“That atmosphere is big time,” Favre said. “It’s not so much the noise but the energy that is there especially now in Starkville with what Coach (Dan) Mullen has going so I’m sure it will be the most exciting atmosphere anyone on our team has played in front of,” Favre said. “It’s hard to describe what 60,000 people with cowbells feels and sounds like until you are on the field and feeling it first hand.”

One of those who played for the Skyhawks in that game now has an even larger role for this year’s squad. Three years ago, Julius McNair was a junior linebacker controlling the line of scrimmage. Now he is the defensive backs coach. In that role, McNair has used his own experience to prepare his players.
“I told them to be ready for a full-capacity crowd and that it’ll be much larger than who we are used to playing in front of,” McNair said. “It’s still the game of football and it’s the same game we have played each and every day. They practice just like us and either pass or run the ball like us, the only difference is the conference they play in and that’s the mindset I’ve been telling the guys.”
Just like in 2011, the game tomorrow afternoon serves as Homecoming for the Bulldogs but while McNair is getting ready to return to Davis Wade Stadium like Mississippi State alumni, it will be another type of homecoming for him.
“It was one of the games I remember most and more so because I got to play in front of my family and friends,” McNair said. “Just being in the state of Mississippi and playing a game back in my home state was very exciting. Now I get to do all those things from the coaching side and it’s the same excitement because I’m only two years removed from playing and still have those memories in my head.”
McNair is one of 13 members of the UT Martin football team that call the Magnolia State home including UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson who played for the Bulldogs from 1990-92.

“We have a lot of players from Mississippi and they are happy to be closer to home and I’m happy they are closer to home as well and are going to let me see what they talk about when they say Mississippi football is different,” Bell said.

UT Martin will hope things will be different this second trip to Starkville, but knows it will be difficult journey.
“It’s certainly different because when you think you are going to be playing the No. 1 team in the nation you would think it would be in the FCS but we get to play the No. 1 team in the FBS so it’s a great opportunity,” Simpson said. “These kids will probably never have this opportunity again and for me personally I may never have this chance to face off against the top team as well so we are just looking forward to it. It may sound crazy but it’s 60 minutes of football and that’s what you look forward to each week. We are going to have to try hard and try and make some things happen because we only have to beat them in four quarters. Just try and keep it close and have a shot at the end.”

The Skyhawks will become the first Ohio Valley Conference team to face the No. 1 FBS team in conference history Saturday afternoon. UT Martin’s first look at the newly renovated Davis Wade Stadium will be today during the team’s walkthrough from 4:30-5:15 p.m.

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Breaking Down UT Martin at Miss State

Breaking Down UT Martin at Miss State

Posted on 06 November 2014 by Allen

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UT Martin Skyhawks (5-5, 4-3 OVC) at #1 Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0 SEC)
Saturday, Nov. 8 • 3:00 p.m. CT
Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (61,337) • Starkville, Miss.
TV: SEC Network
Series Record: Mississippi State leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Mississippi State won 55-17 (11/5/11)
UT Martin Last Week: W, 62-38 at Murray State
Mississippi State Last Week: W, 17-10 vs. Arkansas

GAME NOTES: UT Martin will travel to the No. 1 ranked team in the Football Bowl Subdivision for a Saturday matchup. The game with Mississippi State is the second of the year against a FBS opponent for the Skyhawks, who opened the season at Kentucky. It is the second all-time meeting between the schools who also played in the 2011 season. In that matchup the Bulldogs led 21-0 after one quarter on a way to a 55-17 victory. Jason McNair led UTM with 122 rushing yards in that game while Derek Carr was 19-of-31 for 167 yards. MSU was led by Vick Ballard who rushed for 102 yards and two scores while Tyler Russell passed for 183 yards and a touchdown. UT Martin is 1-17 all-time against FBS opponents with its lone win coming at Memphis in the 2012 season. UTM head coach Jason Simpson played two seasons of football (and baseball) at Mississippi State before transferring to Southern Miss. Saturday marks the annual Homecoming game for Mississippi State.

SCOUTING UT MARTIN: After losing five of its first six games of the season UT Martin has recovered to win its last four contests (its first four-game winning streak since 2012) to even its record at 5-5 on the season. The team is also guaranteed to finish at least .500 in OVC play for the ninth-straight season (all under head coach Jason Simpson); prior to Simpson’s arrival the team had just three seasons of .500 or better in the OVC from 1992-2005.

The Skyhawks jumped out early on rival Murray State on its way to a 62-38 victory on Saturday. UTM rolled up 595 yards of total offense led by senior running back Abou Toure who carried the ball 29 times for 234 yards (8.1 ypc) and three touchdowns. The 234 yards are the 10th-most by a FCS player this season and marked the first UTM player to go over the 200-yard mark since the 2008 season (Brandyn Young). Toure now ranks third in the OVC and 39th nationally in rushing (88.6 yards/game). Quarterback Jarod Neal completed 13-of-20 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a score. Neal ranks ninth nationally in completion percentage (66.4%) and 15th in passing efficiency (146.8).

Junior kicker Jackson Redditt made a career-long 52-yard field goal in the game.

SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE: Mississippi State is one of three FBS teams currently undefeated on the season and have been impressive this season in going from unranked to No. 1 in the country. The Bulldogs beat No. 8 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 2 Auburn in back-to-back-to-back weeks and have won 11 games overall dating back to last season (the second-longest winning streak in school history). The team’s 8-0 start is its first since the 1999 season.

Last week against Arkansas the Bulldogs fell behind 10-0 before not allowing a second half point in coming from behind to win 17-10. The final touchdown came when Heisman candidate Dak Prescott connected with Fred Ross for a 69-yard score with 13:21 to play. Prescott finished the day 18-of-27 for 331 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 61 yards. On the season Prescott has completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 2,205 yards and 16 touchdowns while also rushing for 725 yards and another 10 scores. Prescott has tied the MSU single-season record for touchdowns responsible for (26) in only eight games. Prescott’s play has helped the offense already break the school record for points (316) and total yards (4,179) for a season in just eight games.

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Bell On CFPA Watch List

Bell On CFPA Watch List

Posted on 05 November 2014 by Allen

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College Football Performance Awards announced its 2014 Football Championship Subdivision National Defensive Performer of the Year watch list today and the University of Tennessee at Martin linebacker Tony Bell has made the final cut of 30 players.

Bell joins Southeast Missouri linebacker Roper Garrett as the only Ohio Valley Conference players to make the CFPA’s list. The 6-1, 200-pound senior out of Memphis is also represented on the Sports Network Buck Buchanan Award watch list, which recognizes the best defensive players in the FCS ranks. He was also named the College Sports Madness Preseason National Defensive Player of the Year.

Bell was named as the CFPA National Linebacker of the Week for Week 6 while earning honorable mention accolades from CFPA during Week 5 and Week 7.

A Preseason All-American selection by six different media outlets, Bell became UT Martin’s all-time sacks leader on Oct. 9, as he now has 20 for his career. He currently leads the OVC (and ranks third nationally) with three fumble recoveries and 17 tackles for loss while his 5.5 sacks rank fourth. Overall, he has made 60 tackles with an interception, five pass breakups, two forced fumbles and fumble recovery for a touchdown in 2014.

The Skyhawks travel to Starkville, Miss. this weekend for a matchup against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the No. 1 team in the Football Bowl Subdivision ranks. The SEC Network will provide live coverage for the contest, which kicks off at 3 p.m.

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Abou Toure named OVC Offensive Player of the Week

Abou Toure named OVC Offensive Player of the Week

Posted on 02 November 2014 by Allen

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One day after he put on one of the best single-game rushing performances in University of Tennessee at Martin football history, Abou Toure was crowned adidas Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week today.

A 6-2, 230-pound senior out of Framingham, Mass., Toure had 29 carries for 234 yards and three touchdowns – all career-highs – to help the Skyhawks to a 62-38 win at Murray State. It extended UT Martin’s winning streak to four games and was the ninth win in the last 10 tries against the Racers.

Toure’s 234 yards ranked as the third-best rushing performance in UT Martin history, trailing only Don Chapman’s 272 yards at Southeast Missouri in 2004 and Bobby Fowler’s 253 yards against West Georgia in 1958. Toure’s previous career-high in yardage was 128 against Tennessee Tech on Oct. 9, 2014. Toure was the first Skyhawk to gain at least 200 yards in a game since Brandyn Young tallied 213 yards against Eastern Illinois in 2008.

On Saturday, Toure had four rushes of at least 20 yards – including a long of 40 yards in the third quarter. He gained 99 yards in the third quarter alone and scored a touchdown in the first, third and fourth quarters. Overall, he averaged 8.1 yards per carry and only had one rush for negative yardage (minus-1 yard on his first carry of the second quarter). It was his fourth 100-plus yard rushing game of the season and sixth of his Skyhawk career.

Toure and a remarkable effort by the Skyhawk offensive line resulted in 402 team rushing yards for UT Martin, piling up the most yards on the ground since Nov. 10, 2007 – a span of 79 games.

UT Martin will step out of conference play next weekend, traveling to Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 8. The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 1 in both major Football Bowl Subdivision polls. Kickoff time from Davis Wade Stadium is set for 3 p.m. while the game will be nationally televised on the SEC Network.

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Skyhawks defeat Austin Peay 37-7

Skyhawks defeat Austin Peay 37-7

Posted on 26 October 2014 by Allen

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For the third time in program history, the University of Tennessee at Martin football team claimed the Sgt. York Trophy as the Skyhawks posted a 37-7 victory over Austin Peay on Homecoming at Hardy Graham Stadium.

The Skyhawks completed their 2014 Sgt. York Trophy sweep today after their third straight win in the series. UT Martin defeated Tennessee Tech (17-10) on Oct. 9, followed by a win at Tennessee State (21-16) last week. The Skyhawks improve to 16-8 in the all-time Sgt. York Trophy series, which rewards the winner of the season series between the four Ohio Valley Conference football playing schools located in the state of Tennessee. UT Martin also won the trophy outright in 2010 and shared the trophy in 2012.

Today’s win also resulted in a season-long three-game winning streak for UT Martin, who improves to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in league play.

Abou Toure rushed for over 100 yards for the third time this season, compiling 114 yards on 13 carries (8.8 yards per rush) while scoring a pair of touchdowns. Dylan Favre completed 11-of-17 passes for a game-high 205 yards and two touchdowns while Taylor Higgason compiled a game-high 67 yards receiving and a touchdown. Trent Garland (rushing touchdown) and William Tanner (touchdown reception) also found the endzone today for UT Martin, who outgained the Governors by a 496-170 yard margin.

Defensively, the Skyhawks were led by Tony Bell’s game-high 11 tackles and two sacks. Aaron Simms (forced fumble), Ryan Isom (fumble recovery), Leon Carlton III (interception) and Walter Evans (interception) all had a hand in forcing turnovers for UT Martin, who has limited its last three OVC opponents to 11.0 points per game.

Darrien Boone (56 passing yards, touchdown), Wesley Thomas (50 receiving yards, touchdown) and Justin Roberson (53 rushing yards) led Austin Peay today. Adam Noble’s 10 tackles paced the Governors defensively.

“You can look at the last three weeks – that’s three wins in a row where we have won the turnover battle,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson said. “There are so many things in the course of a game, we could be sitting at 6-3 right now but I never saw this team get too low. They kept it together, kept focusing, were coachable and believed that the wins would come.”

It was an emotional day from the beginning, as the Skyhawks honored their 21 seniors in a pregame ceremony.

The UT Martin defense allowed the Skyhawks to strike first on the scoreboard. UT Martin posted a three-and-out on Austin Peay’s first drive and on its next possession, Simms forced a fumble on the Governors’ 20-yard line to put the Skyhawk offense in prime field position after the fumble was recovered by Isom.

Three plays later, Toure scampered into the endzone from nine yards out. Jackson Redditt successfully booted the PAT to give UT Martin a 7-0 advantage with 8:47 remaining in the first quarter.

Austin Peay was then forced to punt on each of its next two drives, pinning the Skyhawks back at their own 1-yard line on UT Martin’s first possession of the second quarter.

Favre then took over for starter Jarod Neal at quarterback and engineered the Skyhawks 99 yards on 10 plays that used up 3:45 of clock time. A highlight reel one-handed 43 yard reception by Caylon Weathers extended the drive on 3rd-and-4 while Ben Axline (19 yard reception) and Toure (27 yard rush) each accounted for big plays before Garland completed the scoring drive with a two yard rush on 4th-and-goal.

The swarming Skyhawk defense then pushed Austin Peay back a total of 14 yards on its next drive, forcing the Governors to punt for the fourth time in the first 21 minutes of the contest.

Redditt’s accuracy was on display on UT Martin’s ensuing possession, as he nailed a 34 yard field goal with 6:31 left in the second quarter to make the score 17-0.

The Skyhawks then came up with an interception on each of their next two drives. With Austin Peay driving into UT Martin territory, Carlton stepped in front of a Mickey Macius pass and returned it 11 yards to keep the Governors off the scoreboard.

Favre found Tanner with a 19-yard touchdown strike on the Skyhawks’ next drive. The PAT failed and as a result, UT Martin took a 23-0 lead.

Evans then accounted for another Skyhawk turnover, intercepting Boone to essentially close out the first half.

UT Martin gained 253 yards in the first half while limiting Austin Peay to just 70 yards on 30 plays.

The Governors gained one yard on three plays on the opening possession of the second half and it didn’t take long for the Skyhawks to get back in the scoring column. Toure was a workhorse on UT Martin’s scoring drive, carrying the ball on four of the five plays – including a 35 yard rush before a six yard carry provided the Skyhawks with a 30-0 advantage.

The Skyhawks forced two more Austin Peay punts before getting back on the scoreboard. Taking over at its own 43-yard line, Favre completed a pass to Higgason for nine yards before dropping a perfect 48 yard pass down the right seam for a touchdown to make the score 37-0 with 2:07 to play in the third quarter.

A sack by Bell forced a turnover on downs on the Skyhawks’ next defensive possession. Austin Peay would get on the scoreboard at the 12:52 mark of the fourth quarter to conclude the scoring in the contest.

UT Martin returns to OVC play next Saturday, Nov. 1 when it makes the short trek to Murray State for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

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Breaking Down Austin Peay at UT Martin

Breaking Down Austin Peay at UT Martin

Posted on 24 October 2014 by Allen

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Austin Peay Governors (1-6, 1-2 OVC) at UT Martin Skyhawks (3-5, 2-3 OVC)
Saturday, Oct. 25 • 2:00 p.m. CT
Hardy M. Graham Stadium (7,500) • Martin, Tenn.
TV: OVC Digital Network
Series Record: UT Martin leads 35-25-2
Last Meeting: UT Martin won 38-14 (10/26/13)
Austin Peay Last Week:W, 20-13 vs. Murray State
UT Martin Last Week: W, 21-16 at Tennessee State

GAME NOTES: UT Martin can claim its first Sgt. York Trophy championship since 2010 with a victory over Austin Peay on Saturday. The Skyhawks already have wins over fellow Tennessee schools Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech and will complete play a perfect 3-0 with a win. UTM tied for the title in 2012 but lost the tiebreaker and did not take home the actual trophy (which went to TSU). The meeting is the 63rd all-time between the teams with the Skyhawks having won six in a row and 10 of the last 11 overall. Last season UT Martin jumped out to 35-7 lead on its way to a 38-14 victory in Clarksville. Quarterback Jarod Neal completed 21-of-33 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns, DJ McNeil had 114 yards and a score on the ground and Jeremy Butler pulled down 11 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns for the Skyhawks. Austin Peay was led by Omar Williams who had 122 rushing yards while Timarious Mitchell threw two touchdown passes to Darryl Clack.

Saturday’s game marks the annual Homecoming contest for UTM and is the 100th for head coach Jason Simpson as the Skyhawks head coach and the final home game of the season for UTM.

SCOUTING AUSTIN PEAY: Austin Peay snapped an 18-game losing streak (which had been the longest in Division I) with a 20-13 victory over rival Murray State on Saturday. It also snapped a 10-game OVC losing streak for the program. In just his second career start freshman Mickey Macius was named OVC Co-Newcomer of the Week after completing 18-of-22 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. All three of his touchdown passes went to fellow freshman Jared Beard who finished the night with seven catches for 88 yards and the three scores. The duo also hooked up on an 11-yard completion with 2:40 left in the game that helped the Governors run out the clock and seal the victory. Beard was the first APSU player to catch three touchdown passes in a game since Devin Stark in 2012. Freshman Otis Gerron had his second big rushing game in a row, as he carried the ball 26 times for 137 yards (5.3 ypc) to pace the APSU rushing attack. Justin Roberson added 61 yards on the ground as the team finished with 148 total rushing yards. Punter Ben Campbell became the school’s all-time leader in punt yardage during the game, breaking the record of 9,773 previously held by J.P. Hogan (2000-03). Campbell, who averaged 43.4 yards/punt on the night, is also now tied with Hogan for most punts in school history (259).

Sophomore Rod Owens picked off two passes, recovered a fumble and had seven tackles for the Austin Peay defense.

SCOUTING UT MARTIN: UT Martin won its second-straight game by knocking off Tennessee State at Hale Stadium in Nashville on Saturday. The Skyhawks won despite tallying only 210 yards of total offense and giving up 367 yards to the Tigers. The defense did make plays when it mattered, forcing two fumbles (recovering one), tallying six tackles-for-loss and returning an interception for a touchdown early in the third quarter. That play came from Keith Jones who returned the interception 42 yards to put the Skyhawks up 14-3. The team led 21-3 later in the quarter when Jarod Neal hit Corey Rogers for a seven-yard touchdown pass. Neal completed 11-of-18 passes in the game and ranks 12th nationally in completion percentage (65.6%) and is 17th in passing efficiency (146.8). Redshirt junior Reuben Duckworth had 59 yards and a touchdown on the ground while Najee Ray added a game-high 60 rushing yards. Punter James Satterfield averaged 38.6 yards/punt with a long punt of 57 yards in the game; he currently ranks third in the OVC in punting (40.8 yards/punt).

Senior All-American Tony Bell had two tackles, a tackle-for-loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three pass breakups in the game. He ranks second nationally in fumbles recovered (3) and 17th nationally in tackles-for-loss (1.7/game).

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Skyhawks top TSU 21-16

Skyhawks top TSU 21-16

Posted on 18 October 2014 by Allen

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For the second consecutive year and fourth time since 2012 the University of Tennessee at Martin football team has clinched at least a share of the eighth annual Sgt. York Trophy with the 21-16 victory over Tennessee State at Hale Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Skyhawks (3-5, 2-3 OVC) picked up their first road victory at Tennessee State since 2008 and first victory at Hale Stadium in school history. The Skyhawks will have to wait until next week if they will bring the Sgt. York Trophy back to UT Martin when they play host to Austin Peay. UT Martin currently sits at 2-0 in the quadrangular season series between the four OVC football playing schools (Austin Peay, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin) located in the state of Tennessee.

Much of today’s victory is credit to the stellar play of the Skyhawk defensive unit. Despite giving up 367 yards of total offense as opposed to 210 yards gained, the Skyhawks forced two fumbles, recovered one fumble, returned an interception for a touchdown and tallied six tackles for loss.

Junior quarterback Jarod Neal took all snaps under center for the Skyhawks, effectively managing the game while converting on 11-of-18 pass attempts for 67 yards and one touchdown. Eight receivers tallied at least one catch while Kyle Kerrick, Ladevin Fair and Caylon Weathers each notched a pair of receptions. Converted offensive lineman Corey Rogers tallied the team’s lone touchdown reception.

Four Skyhawks saw their names called in the run game, led by the play of Reuben Duckworth and his 14 carries. Duckworth tallied 59 yards on the day, along with one touchdown. Najee Ray tallied 60 yards on 10 attempts while Abou Toure reach the 1,000 yard career plateau with his first of 12 carries on the afternoon, finishing with 48 yards in the game.
The defensive unit forced two turnovers on the day, including one fumble recovery and an interception return for a touchdown. Leon Carlton III tallied seven tackles while six players recorded at least a part in a tackle for loss. Nick Brown notched the team’s lone sack while Keith Jones recorded his first career interception, returning it 42 yards for a touchdown.

“That was a big win and I’m very proud,” said UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson. “It was a great job by our defensive staff as we have a great plan and executed it. We challenged our offensive line after last season and they responded. Not a big statistical day but it was enough to get a big win on the road and anytime you can do that, it’s been a good day. We’re sitting at 2-0 in the Sgt. York with Homecoming next week, we’re looking forward to it. We’ve had to adjust our goals and the Sgt. York Trophy is one of them. We want to see Sgt. York in our building next season.”

Tennessee State (4-4, 1-3 OVC) dropped its third consecutive game despite tallying 314 passing yard. Quarterback Michael German led the Tigers under center, converting on 18-of-36 attempts for 314 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Ryan Mitchell was a standout for the Tigers in the receiving game, catching six passes for 156 yards and one touchdown. Weldon Garlington also got in on the action, notching five receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown.

After neither team could get anything going in the first quarter, the Skyhawks got onto the scoreboard on their first drive of the second quarter. Beginning their drive on the UTM 30, Ray scampered on four consecutive rushing attempts for a combined 40 yards and into TSU territory. From there the drive belonged to Duckworth. Duckworth would tally four rushing attempts before punctuating the drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown over the left side. The touchdown gave the Skyhawks the 7-0 lead with 11:33 to play in the half and was Duckworth’s first of his Skyhawk career.

Tennessee State would look to answer the Skyhawk touchdown by putting points up of its own on the following possession. After beginning their drive on their own 25, German would connect with Mitchell for a 39-yard completion to move into Skyhawk territory. A nine-yard sack by Brown would back the Tigers up before a personal foul penalty would give TSU another first down to work with. TSU would later convert on another 25-yard completion to Garlinton before settling for a 34-yard field goal to bring the score to 7-3 with just under six minute to play in the half.

UT Martin would go into the half with a 7-3 lead, totaling 147 yards of total offense as opposed to Tennessee State’s 141 yards. The big advantage for the Skyhawks in the first half was 110 yards on the ground while TSU tallied 118 yards through the air.

The Skyhawk defense continued to impress in the opening minutes of the second half, much like the first. With Tennessee State beginning its first possession of the second half on its own 33, the Tigers tallied four consecutive rushes for a first down. With a first down, German would turn to the air but heavy pressure from Deante Glover would cause a quick pass right into the hands of nose tackle Jones, who would return the interception 42 yards for a touchdown. The defensive score is the first interception return of the season and just the second set of defensive points. Following the point after attempt, the Skyhawks would hold a 14-3 lead just over two minutes into the half.

Weighing heavily on the play of their defense, the Skyhawks would set up another scoring drive on the shoulders of the defensive unit. After a punt pinned the Tigers on their own 10 yard line, Nick Dance would get to the running back on the first play from scrimmage and strip the ball loose before Tony Bell would recover the fumble on the TSU 12.

With the offense taking over with just 12 yards to score, Toure would rush up the middle to pick up five yards. Following the rushing attempt, Neal would find converted lineman Rogers for a 7-yard touchdown completion – the first of his career – to stretch the Skyhawk lead out to 21-3 with 1:31 to play in the third quarter.

Following the score, Tennessee State would look to get back into the game on its following possession. After beginning their drive on the TSU 26, the Tigers would get the offense moving. German would convert back-to-back pass attempt to Garlington and Mitchell for 27 and 13 yards, respectively. German wouldn’t be done, hitting his receivers on his next two attempts before finding Garlington for a 26-yard touchdown down the middle of the field. Following the extra point, the Skyhawks would hold a 21-10 lead with 14:17 to play in the game.

After exchanging punts on the next two drives, the Tigers made the game interesting late in the fourth quarter. Faced with first and 10 on its own 25, Tennessee State would turn to German who would find Mitchell for a 75-yard touchdown reception, scampering the length of the field to bring the game to 21-16 score. Looking for a two-point conversion to bring the Tigers within three points, they would convert the play before being called back on a penalty. The second attempt was no good.

The Skyhawks would look to ice the game in the final five minutes, taking over on their final drive with 4:34 to play. The running back duo of Ray and Duckworth would slowly move the ball down the field before milking the clock to exhaustion and give the Skyhawks their second consecutive victory.

UT Martin will return to action a week from Saturday when the Skyhawks play host to Austin Peay on Saturday, Oct. 25. Action from Hardy Graham Stadium is scheduled for 2 p.m. with Homecoming festivities and senior day activities to take place prior to the game.

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Scores

Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24

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