|UT Martin defense too tough for Govs |
|Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012 7:00 pm |
By ALLISON JONES
Special to The Messenger
The UT Martin football team came into Saturday’s Ohio Valley Conference opener against Austin Peay riding a four-game winning streak against the Governors.
The Skyhawks (3-1, 1-0 OVC) dominated from the start, defeating the Govs 31-6.
The story of the game was the Skyhawk defense, which held the Govs to 274 total yards and kept them out of the end zone.
“I’m very proud of our defense,” said Skyhawk seventh-year head Coach Jason Simpson. “We’re starting to create a mentality on defense. There’s still stuff to work on but the defense is coming along.”
The Skyhawk defense has held opponents to single-digit points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2006, the year the Skyhawks won the OVC title.
The only points for the Govs came on their final possession of the first half and first possession of the second half, both resulting in Stephen Stansell field goals.
UTM also forced four turnovers, including an 11-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by sophomore Fred Flenorl.
Flenorl was also one of three Skyhawks to record an interception, along with senior Julius McNair and freshman Aaron Simms.
“We expect to get turnovers,” Simpson said. “When you do that it’s hard for teams to beat you.”
Simms’ interception came after the Govs cut the Skyhawk lead to 21-6. The pick put the Skyhawks in good field position, resulting in a 32-yard field goal by senior Cody Sandlin that pushed the Skyhawk lead back to 18 points.
Senior quarterback Derek Carr was 21-of-33 for 266 yards but threw three interceptions — all of which came in Austin Peay territory.
Five different Skyhawk receivers had double-digit receiving yards. Veteran Quentin Sims led the Skyhawks with seven receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Entering the game with no catches on the season, junior transfer Jeremy Butler added five receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown that put the Skyhawks on the board in the first quarter.
“Someone besides Sims needs to make some plays,” Simpson said. “It was good to see Butler make some plays.”
The running attack contributed 118 yards, led by senior Tevin Barskdale (10 carries for 59 yards) and junior D.J. NcNeil (2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter).
The Govs threatened to cut into the Skyhawk lead in the beginning of the second half.
The Skyhawks host OVC foe Eastern Kentucky comes on Saturday for an 11 a.m. kickoff. The game will be televised by Fox College Sports.
The preseason favorite Colonels are coming off of a 51-21 OVC beat-down of Jacksonville State.
“We won’t practice any different than we always do,” Simpson said. “The kids know if you win this one you have a chance to be in the driver’s seat and if you don’t you line back up and you’re playing desperate the next week.”
Published in The Messenger 9.24.12