The UT Martin Football team entered Saturday's road contest against Eastern Kentucky looking to defeat the Colonels on the road for only the 3rd time ever. To do so they would have to slow down one of the nation's best rushing attacks.
Things didn't look promising, as Colonel quarterback Parker McKinney connected with receiver Jaelin Carter from 27 yards out to give Eastern Kentucky a 7-0 lead just 3 plays into the game. The Skyhawks would respond with 17 straight points to take the lead.
Running back Lamarcus Young got the Skyhawks on the board with a 41-yard touchdown run near the end of the first quarter. A 22-yard Ryan Courtright field goal gave UT Martin a 10-7 lead. Just before halftime, running back Jaimee Bowe would score from 9 yards out to give the Skyhawks a 17-7 lead.
Eastern Kentucky would respond quickly with a 4-yard touchdown pass from McKinney to running back Daryl McCleskey to cut the Skyhawk lead to 3 before halftime. Colonel Running back Alonzo Booth scored from a yard out to give EKU the lead at 21-17.
UT Martin responded well in all 3 phases of the game. Following a John Bacchus interception, the defense stopped the Colonel offense, setting up a 71-yard Terry Williams punt return. Bacchus would score on a 5-yard run to put UT Martin back in front. On the ensuing drive, defensive lineman Austin Pickett sacked and forced a McKinney fumble, which was recovered and returned 44 yards for a touchdown by T.J. Jefferson.
McKinney scrambled into the endzone for a 5-yard touchdown run, but a 54-yard Peyton Logan touchdown run would but the Skyhawks in front for good.
In a back and forth offensive matchup that featured both 66 total points and both teams producing over 400 yards of offense, it was the Skyhawk defense that made the headlines. The defense held an Eastern Kentucky rushing attack that averaged 243.8 rushing yards per game, to just 96 yards on the day. Daryl McCleskey entered the day with 3 straight 100-yard performances and was held to just 60 yards on the afternoon.
The win improves UT Martin to 3-2 on the season and 2-0 in conference play. The team will stay on the road for another conference matchup on Saturday as they play in-state conference rival Tennessee Tech.