With OVC title hopes on the line and FCS playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Skyhawks came out victorious in a crucial home victory against rival Tennessee State University. After a scoreless first half for both teams, the Skyhawks unleased their feathers and scored 21 points in the second quarter. With a 21-3 lead going into halftime, a victory for UT Martin seemed inevitable.
The key to the Skyhawks' victory was through their running backs. UT Martin rushed for a total of 298 rushing yards, with freshman running back Zak Wallace leading the way with 123 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Keon Howard followed suit with 75 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
The Skyhawks' defense shined as they allowed only six total points through three quarters and had two takeaways. The first takeaway came when defensive linemen Jaylyn Rogers and Daylan Dotson sacked TSU Quarterback Geremy Hickbottom, causing him to fumble the football. The second takeaway occurred when senior linebacker John Ford intercepted Hickbottom for a game-sealing pick-six in the game's final minute.
TSU running back Devon Starling put up huge numbers with 117 receiving yards and 78 rushing yards on the afternoon. Linebacker Jahsun Bryant forced two fumbles and recovered one to go along with his eight total tackles. Geremy Hickbottom threw for 219 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
After going undefeated at home for the second time in three years, the Skyhawks look to continue their winning streak on the road against Tennessee Tech. In their last matchup, the Skyhawks beat the Golden Eagles handily by a score of 40-7. This season, Tennessee Tech is 3-6 overall and 1-3 in OVC conference play. With a one-game lead atop the Ohio Valley Conference, a win this Saturday is more important than ever.
Kickoff will take place at 1:30 p.m. on November 13.