Late UTM rally not enough
Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 12:03 pm
UT Martin scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter but came up short as South Alabama posted a 33-30 non-conference football victory over the Skyhawks Saturday afternoon at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
“It was too little too late,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson said. “We played a good football team. Watch them on tape against North Carolina State and Kent State, that’s a good football team. We knew that coming in here.”
Junior transfer Quentin Sims caught three touchdown passes and had a career-best six receptions for 78 yards, while senior wide receiver Stephen Shiver had seven catches for 96 yards.
Shiver now has 102 receptions and 1,618 yards in receiving.
The Skyhawks opened the fourth-quarter barrage with a 38-yard field goal by junior Cody Sandlin. The field goal capped off a five-play drive that covered 40 yards in 1:10.
The Skyhawk offense scored on its next possession, but rather than run the ball, junior quarterback Derek Carr engineered an air attack. Carr completed five passes, three to Shiver, and landed the drive on the South Alabama 10 yard line with four downs to score. Sophomore running back DJ McNeil tried to punch the ball in, but Carr found Sims open in the corner of the end zone with a two-yard touchdown pass. With the score, the Skyhawks trailed 33-23 with 3:54 to play.
The Skyhawk defense held South Alabama to three downs and took charge again on their own 26 yard line with 2:07 to play. Once again Carr went to the air. This time McNeil found paydirt on second-and-goal.
The Skyhawks tried the onside kick, but South Alabama came up with the ball and preserved their homecoming victory.
South Alabama took advantage of two UTM turnovers, a Carr interception and a Tevin Barksdale fumble, in the third quarter and cruised to a 33-13 lead. Despite the two turnovers, the Skyhawks managed to march 80 yards on nine plays to score a touchdown with 6:02 on the clock. Carr completed a 10-yard pass to Quentin Sims for the score.
“Penalties and turnovers, it’s the same old story,” Simpson said.
Unlike the second half, South Alabama used a slow, dominating offensive attack in the first half.
The Jaguars used a nine-play drive that covered 80 yards to take a 13-7 lead. Demetre Baker scored on a 7-yard run. South Alabama closed out the first half with a 21-yard field goal. The field goal was the result of a 12-play drive which covered 62 yards and ate 4:31 of the second quarter.
The two South Alabama scoring drives took up more than nine minutes of the second quarter, while the first-half UT Martin deficit marked the first time this season the Skyhawks trailed an opponent at the half.
South Alabama dominated possession in the first half, running 40 plays for 239 yards of offense. The host Jaguars had the ball for 21:33 in the first half, while UT Martin ran just 18 offensive plays for 64 yards.
The Skyhawks took a 7-6 lead in the game when Shiver threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Sims.
Published in The WCP 10.18.11