SKYHAWKS SET TO HOST AUSTIN PEAY IN HOMECOMING SHOWDOWN ON SATURDAY
October 3, 2016
The University of Tennessee at Martin football team will look to get back to its winning ways when the Skyhawks play host to Ohio Valley Conference foe Austin Peay in a Homecoming matchup. In addition to the program’s Homecoming festivities and the induction of former standout Donald Chapman into the Hall of Fame, the Skyhawks will honor the 2006 OVC championship team with kickoff from Hardy M. Graham Stadium scheduled for 2 p.m.
Saturday’s game serves as the third and final contest for UT Martin in the 10th annual Sgt. York Trophy series, presented by Delta Dental of Tennessee. The Sgt. York Trophy goes to the winner of the quadrangular season series between the four OVC football playing schools located in the state of Tennessee (Austin Peay, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin). The Skyhawks swept the Sgt. York Trophy series the past two seasons - adding their fourth title (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015) in history. UT Martin is 20-9 all-time in the series - the best mark of the four schools. Additionally, the Skyhawks are 12-2 against in-state foes since 2013.
The Skyhawks (2-3, 1-1 OVC) saw their brief two-game winning streak come to a halt following a 34-30 loss to Tennessee State in the team’s previous contest. UT Martin led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter before battling back after being held scoreless in the second and third quarters. TSU would hold a narrow 17-16 lead heading into the fourth before the two teams combined to score 31 points in the final quarter of play which featured four lead changes. The Skyhawks would score a go-ahead touchdown on a 20-yard completion from Troy Cook to Londell Lee to take a 30-27 lead with two minutes to play before the Tigers would rally with a game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds left in the contest to pick up the victory. The loss was the Skyhawks’ first in the Sgt. York Trophy series since the 2013 season.
Quarterback Troy Cook leads the Skyhawk attack by completing 58-of-93 passes for 912 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. Sophomore running back Jaimiee Bowe paces the ground attack with 70 carries for 279 yards and four touchdowns. Caylon Weathers leads the receiving core with 17 catches for 212 yards and four touchdowns while the quarter of Ben Axline, Londell Lee, Kyle Kerrick and Greg McKillion have each tallied a pair of touchdown receptions on the year.
Defensively the Skyhawks are led by Kahlid Hagens who paces the squad with 34 tackles while Keith Jones leads the team with 5.5 tackles for loss. Junior Joseph Este leads the secondary with 4.0 tackles for loss along with four pass breakups and an interception.
UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson is currently in his 11th season at the helm of the Skyhawks with an overall record of 67-52 and 52-31 league mark. Simpson currently sits ninth on the OVC’s all-time wins list while ranking as the league’s longest active tenured coach. Austin Peay is coached by first-year head coach Will Healy who is looking for his first career victory (0-4).
Austin Peay (0-4, 0-3 OVC) enters the contest looking for its first win of the season while boasting a defense which ranks towards the bottom of the league by allowing 51.3 points per game. In the team’s most recent outing, they fell to OVC rival Murray State 45-17 in a game in which quarterback Tommy Hays broke a school record by completing his first 14 passes before finishing 14-of-17 for 160 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
The Governors are led by Hays who has completed 27-of-42 passes for 356 yards passing and three touchdowns while tallying 42 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns on the ground this season. Jared Beard leads the receiving core with 26 catches for 355 yards and two touchdowns. Gunnar Scholato leads the Govs on the defensive side of the ball, tallying 51 tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception.
This will be the 65th matchup between the two in-state rivals with UT Martin holding a sizable 37-25-2 series advantage. UT Martin heads into the contest holding an eight-game winning streak against Austin Peay, winning every season matchup since 2007 while notching wins in 12 of the last 13 meetings. Under the direction of head coach Jason Simpson, the Skyhawks have strung together a 9-1 mark against the Governors. Additionally, UT Martin is 35-28 all-time on Homecoming while posting a 3-0 mark against Austin Peay in the annual affair.
The game will be streamed live, free of charge, courtesy of the OVC Digital Network at the link above. Fans can also tune into Mix 101.3 FM to hear Tom Britt (play-by-play), Chris Brinkley (color) and John Abel (sideline) provide analysis. WUTM, UT Martin’s award-winning student radio station, will also broadcast the game locally on 90.3 FM. Links for both radio broadcasts, along with live stats can be accessed through their respective links above. For in-game updates, follow the Skyhawks on twitter @UTM_Gameday.