Mississippi St. turns away UTM

Mississippi St. turns away UTM
UT Martin junior running back Jason McNair rushed 27 times for 122 yards, but Mississippi State took advantage of Skyhawk miscues and made big plays en route to a 55-17 homecoming victory at Davis-Wade Stadium.
“A loss is a loss,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson said. “We had individual errors, but I was proud of our guys’ ability to stand against a team like this (Mississippi State) and execute at times.”
Kenny Jones was one of those players who was able to execute. The H-back scored twice, on a two-yard run in the third quarter to cap a 13-play, 71-yard drive on an eight-yard pass from quarterback Derek Carr with 4:16 left in the game.
“We really couldn’t hold on to the football,” Simpson said. “I am proud of the offensive line and their ability to compete against this team.”
McNair also gave all the credit to his offensive line. “I have to credit the line for all of our offensive success,” he said. “We ran the ball very well and our team played better than I expected overall.”
The Skyhawks managed to rush for 269 total yards and piled up 454 yards against the No. 15 defense in the nation.
Mississippi State had 570 yards of offense, 288 rushing and 282 passing. Vick Ballard rushed for two touchdowns and 102 yards on 11 carries. Arceto Clark had five catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
UT Martin walk-on linebacker Ben Johnson led the Skyhawk defense with 13 tackles and a pick-off.
“Our offense gave our defense momentum, and we felt like we could play with them regardless of the fact that we play in the OVC and they play in the SEC,” Johnson said. “We just didn’t get the job done.”
Mississippi State scored twice in the third quarter, while the Skyhawks kept things close in the second quarter, only giving up one touchdown while closing out the half with a 31-yard field goal by Sandlin. The Skyhawks managed to gain 91 yards of offense, most of it coming from Carr who completed 5-of-7 passes for 53 yards.
The Bulldogs scored their lone touchdown of the quarter when Relf completed a 27-yard pass to Clark.
Despite not scoring in the first quarter, UT Martin gained 142 yards of offense on 23 plays.
Published in The Messenger 11.7.11

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