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Skyhawks finally own road win

Skyhawks finally own road win
CHARLESTON, Ill. — UT Martin relied on big plays and a key defensive stand to salvage a 24-23 victory over host Eastern Illinois Saturday afternoon.
With the victory the Skyhawks improve to 3-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference and 4-3 on the season. The Skyhawks will host Southeast Missouri State 2 p.m. Saturday at Hardy M. Graham Stadium.
After losing three games by a total of seven points this season, UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson was glad to see the Skyhawks come out on top in a close game.
“We needed a win like this,” Simpson said. “We have a ton of things to fix, but it was good to get this one today.”
The UTM defense stopped Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on fourth-and-two when Jarvis McCann forced the sophomore quarterback to fumble the ball. Darrin Nalls recovered the loose ball and the Skyhawks were able to run out the final 1:42 of the game.
The UTM defense put an end to EIU’s running game early but never could stop Garoppolo and the Panthers’ passing assault. Garoppolo completed 27-of-36 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns.
UT Martin junior Montori Hughes, a Tennessee transfer, led the Skyhawk defense with 10 tackles, one sack, 5.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Cody Sandlin’s 29-yard field goal and Quentin Sims’ 24-yard pass from Derek Carr gave UTM a 10-7 halftime lead.
The two teams then swapped touchdowns, with the Skyhawks gooing ahead 24-20 early in the fourth quarter.
Tevin Barksdale scored on a one-yard run, and Sims pulled in a 12-yrd Carr pass for UTM’s scores.
EIU added a field goal to get within 24-23.
Published in The Messenger 10.24.11

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