OFFENSE MAKES BIG STRIDES IN SECOND SCRIMMAGE OF SPRING FOOTBALL
April 14, 2017
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin football team saw its offense explode for seven touchdowns as the program conducted its second of three scheduled intrasquad scrimmages in conjunction with Practice #11 of the spring slate at Hardy M. Graham Stadium this morning.
UT Martin closed out its third of four loaded weeks of practice with the team’s second scrimmage. Overall the Skyhawk offense stole the show, tallying 17 first downs on the day while scoring seven touchdowns and accumulating 520 yards of total offense in over 100 plays. Meanwhile the defense would also force the offensive unit into five three-and-outs while returning a pair of interceptions for touchdowns.
“I certainly thought our offense competed better today,” said UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson. “We are in the third install of the spring so we are finding out who we are and what we are good at. The offense made a couple of plays. We couldn’t sustain drives very well, but we were able to make some big plays and I liked what I saw from that. I told the team that there are a lot of pieces and good players here. There are some things we need to improve on but our twos were able to get about 60 plays today, so I was pleased.”
Headlining the quarterback core was returning starter Troy Cook. Cook paced the Skyhawks under center, completing 14-of-23 passes for 205 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Primary backup Kyle Akin would complete 9-of-17 attempts for 101 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Redshirt freshman Clay Beathard also joined in the action, tallying four completions for 53 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Newcomer Ladarius Galloway led the ground attack with 11 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown. Switching to offense for the first time this spring, Skip Rowe provided a spark on the day with four carries for 47 yards.
The receiving core saw 11 different members of the Skyhawks tally receptions on the day. Caylon Weathers paced the squad with five receptions for 41 yards while Jaylon Smith made the most of four receptions to accumulate 103 yards. Redshirt freshman Donnell Williams led the team with two touchdowns of two and six yards, respectively, while Jaylon Moore, Jaimiee Bowe, Galloway and Rowe also tallied touchdown receptions.
Defensively the team was paced by Antonio Clifton who notched a team-high seven tackles along with a pass breakup. Reigning All-OVC first team selection Kahlid Hagens tallied five tackles, a sack and a pass breakup while returning a 43-yard interception for a touchdown. Kevin Reid also scored the team’s other defensive touchdown, returning an interception 20 yards for a pick-six. Joseph Jones made the most of his afternoon, tallying four tackles and three quarterback hurries while notching 1.5 sacks. Donald Cofield joined in the action by pacing the team with two sacks while TJ Jefferson and DJ Simmons also tallied a sack each.
Specialist would round out the day by converting on each kicking attempt. Brett Arkelian converted three point after attempts while making field goals from 26, 27, 31 and 34 yards. Ryan Courtright also converted three field goal attempt from 32, 33 and 39 yards.
UT Martin will look to close out the team’s final four spring practices over the next week. The Skyhawks will wrap up their final scrimmage of the spring with the program’s annual Blue and White Spring Game scheduled for Saturday, April 22. All UT Martin football alums are encouraged to attend the event with an alumni reception following the 11 a.m. scheduled scrimmage.