Skyhawks do enough in home opener
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
UT Martin’s offense showed up only in rare and brief intervals. The defense was there all night.
All in all, though, it was more than enough time to earn the Skyhawks a decisive win in their 2012 football home opener.
Playing in front of 4,012 fans at Graham Stadium, UTM scored three times in the fourth quarter for a 23-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana Thursday night.
After splitting their first two games on the road — winning at Memphis and losing at Northern Illinois — the Skyhawks improved to 2-1 and will now spend the rest of the season involved in Ohio Valley Conference games.
On the offensive end, at least, there is still plenty of work to be done in order to contend for a league championship.
“Give credit to their defense,” UTM head coach Jason Simpson said. “There were too many tackles for loss. They were stretching us sideways, and we weren’t used to that. We were kind of shell-shocked for awhile. We’re an outside zone stretch team, and their ends were doing a good job of stretching our tackles out and not giving our backs a clear read.
“That’s probably the most disarray we’ve been on offense since I’ve been here.”
There were some good signs on offense, especially the play of receiver Quentin Sims. He pulled in four catches for 72 yards, his 47-yard catch-and-run down the home sideline setting UTM’s first score.
Tevin Barksdale had 61 yards rushing, and DJ McNeil added 47 yards and two TDs on the ground. The running game, however, posted 39 yards in the wrong direction as a result of being tackled behind the line 13 times.
Derek Carr struggled with consistency early and finished with 184 yards on 11-of-23 throws.
And, finally, points in the kicking game were hard to come by again.
Cody Sandlin missed his first two field goal attempts — from 38 and 31 yards — before connecting from 33 yards early in the fourth quarter.
Jackson Redditt came on in relief for the point-after following UTM’s first score.
UTM’s defense was solid all night.
While the Lions actually outgained UT Martin (358-352) in total yards, the Skyhawks pitched a shutout for 59 minutes and 23 seconds.
In classic bend-but-don’t-break style, UTM gave up drives of 62, 73 and 57 yards before allowing SLU to score on a nine-play, 62-yard series. UTM forced five punts, stopped a fourth-down try three times, picked off a pass and saw the Lions miss two field goals.
Published in The WCP 9.18.12