FOOTBALL TEAM SET FOR REGIONAL BATTLE WITH MEMPHIS, FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACH
August 30, 2012
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin football team will open its 2012 season on the road at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium when they play host Memphis. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday.
This will be the eighth all-time meeting with Memphis for the Skyhawks, and only the second since the 1932 season. The teams did play three years ago (2009) with the Tigers claiming a 41-14 victory.
Now in his seventh season at UT Martin, head coach Jason Simpson welcomes back seven offensive and eight defensive starters from last year’s team which was 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Among the returning players is senior quarterback Derek Carr who completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 2,482 yards and 25 touchdowns a year ago. Carr had six touchdown passes in a game last year, tying the UTM single-game record. One of his favorite targets is senior wide receiver Quentin Sims who caught 54 passes for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior in 2011.
The Skyhawks also return its top rusher from last season, senior Jason McNair. McNair rushed for 782 yards and five touchdowns last season. Defensively Ben Johnson is back after recording a team-high 96 tackles a year ago.
Memphis is under the direction of first-year head coach Justin Fuente, who spent the past five years at TCU. Fuente is very familar with the OVC, having played two seasons as quarterback at Murray State where he set numerous school and conference records. In fact Fuente played against UT Martin twice during his career, throwing for five touchdowns in each game (both Racer victories).
Senior linebacker Akeem Davis had 78 tackles a year ago and has turned up on the CFPA preseason watch list to begin the season. Also on this list is junior punter Tom Hornsey who had 19 punts of 50-plus yards a season ago. Memphis is 36-57-3 all-time in season openers. This marks the final season for Memphis in Conference USA; the Tigers will join the Big East next year.