FOOTBALL TEAM WINS FINALE; MUST WAIT AND SEE ABOUT POSTSEASON
November 17, 2012
MARTIN, Tenn. – With 1:55 to play in the game, Tennessee State quarterback Michael German completed an 18-yard touchdown pass to A.C. Leonard. German’s conversion pass failed and The University of Tennessee at Martin dodged a bullet.
On the ensuing possession, UT Martin senior quarterback Derek Carr completed a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Quentin Sims. Senior kicker Cody Sandlin added the PAT and the Skyhawks sealed a 35-26 victory over No. 23 Tennessee State at Hardy M. Graham Stadium this afternoon.
“I am very happy tonight,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson said. “I have some remorse … we let one get away from us last week (a 45-44 overtime loss at Tennessee Tech).”
The Skyhawks finish the regular season with an 8-3 overall record and a 6-2 Ohio Valley Conference worksheet. Tennessee State also wraps up the year with an 8-3 slate and a 4-3 mark in the league. UT Martin finishes third in the OVC standings, while Tennessee State falls to fifth. The Skyhawks are one of three teams with an 8-3 overall mark. The other 8-3 team is Eastern Kentucky which finished its regular season a week ago with a 55-24 victory over Murray State. Eastern Illinois wins the OVC regular season and claims the league’s automatic berth in the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, while EKU finishes second.
There are 10 automatic berths in the FCS playoffs and 10 at-large bids.
“We won,” Simpson said. “Now we just wait and see what happens.”
The FCS selection show is set for 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
“We can take this team anywhere and represent this conference,” Simpson said.
The defense represented the Skyhawks the best in the season finale against TSU. Opting to change defensive fronts, the Skyhawks forced five (three fumbles and two interceptions) Tennessee State turnovers and held the Tigers to a pair of field goals in the first three quarters.
Senior Jarvis McCann led the Skyhawks with 10 total tackles, a tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery. Ben Johnson and Julius McNair had eight tackles and a forced fumble each.
Carr led the Skyhawk offense. He was 21-40-1 on the afternoon for 276 yards and three touchdowns. Sims caught all three passes and became the OVC’s single season leader in touchdown receptions. The Georgia Tech transfer finished the regular season with 16 TDs.
“Football is a strange game,” Simpson said. “There is always the pretty stuff, last week was a pretty game and we lost though. I will take an ugly win anytime. We beat a very good football team tonight,” Simpson said.