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Good start, late stop right plan for UTM

Good start, late stop right plan for UTM
Messenger Sports
UT Martin pulled away early and then held on late.
The Skyhawks grabbed a 25-point lead in the first half and then pushed away several comeback attempts by Southeast Missouri in the second half for a 38-30 win in their Ohio Valley Conference game Saturday  at Graham Stadium.
The win improves UTM to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the OVC. SEMO, the league’s defending champion, continues its struggles this year, dropping to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in the league.
UTM dominated much of the first half in taking a 28-3 lead at one point. But, a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half began shifting the momentum toward SEMO, and the RedHawks seemed poised to take away the game after eating up 7:56 of the third quarter on a 14-play, 71-yard drive to pull within 28-16.
The Skyhawks responded with a touchdown of their own, and then would answer another SEMO touchdown with a field goal to lead 38-23 with 5:31 to play in the game.
SEMO put together a quick scoring drive to get within eight points and later had one more chance after forcing UTM to punt. But, needing to travel 62 yards without any time-outs, the RedHawks eventually ran out of downs.
UTM struck first with the run as Tevin Barksdale broke free for a 64-yard touchdown sprint at 10:45 of the first quarter,
That score kick-started the UTM offense, which gained 253 yards on 35 plays before taking a knee on the half’s final play, down the path to a 28-3 lead by the 3:59 mark of the second quarter.
“We got the win,” UTM head coach Jason Simpson said. “I thought we played pretty well in the first half, especially on offense. We had 28 points, and they haven’t stopped us yet, except for the first drive.”
DJ McNeil scored later in the first quarter on a one-yard run, and Quentin Sims pulled in an eight-yard pass from Derek Carr for a 21-0 lead at 12:58 of the second period.
SEMO’s Drew Geld-bach, who missed a 50-yard field goal attempt in the first period, connected from that distance at the other end of the field with 8:08 to play. The Skyhawks came right back, however, with their fourth TD of the half as Kenny Jones caught a 16-yard TD pass from Carr.
Barksdale gained 91 of his game-best 136 rushing yards in the first half, while Carr was 11-of-15 for 113 yards and two TDs before intermission.
Held to 107 yards on 26 plays to that point, SEMO began to creep back into the game in the final four minutes of the half.
Matt Scheible used his arm to orchestrate a 13-play, 75-yard drive as he was 5-of-7 for 58 yards and a score, pulling SEMO within 28-9 at the half.
It was 28-16 after another long RedHawks’ drive, this one with Scheible completing three passes for 14 yards and rushing four times for 14 more with a pass interference against UTM helping move the ball. Ron Coleman finished with five-yard run at 5:21.
Both teams then forced punts, SEMO’s resulting in a personal foul penalty on the visitors to put the Skyhawks just 41 yards away from the endzone.
Throwing to Sims for five yards and then Jones for 12, Carr moved to the SEMO 24. He later took off on a scramble for seven yards and then threw to Stephen Shriver for 17 to the two-yard-line on the first play of the final quarter. McNeil finished, his second TD of the day coming at 14:04 and helping the Skyhawks to a 35-16 lead.
Scheible led yet another comeback bid, first running for 26 yards and then throwing a 33-yard TD pass to Spencer Davis with 11:41 to play. And, yet again, UTM answered, this time seemingly putting the game away with a 14-play, 57-yard drive that ate up 6:09 and ended with Cody Sandlin’s 29-yard field goal at 5:31.
Scheible and Davis hooked up again, this time for 11 yards with 3:57 to play.
“Scheible is a good player,” Simpson said. “I didn’t want him to have the ball with a chance to win, especially in the red zone. Now, we were up by eight, so several things had to happen.” Published in The Messenger 10.31.11

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