NO. 23 FOOTBALL TEAM OPENS OVC PLAY AT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI ON SATURDAY NIGHT

September 24, 2013

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The No. 23 University of Tennessee at Martin football team returns to the gridiron for the first time in two weeks when it takes on the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Houck Stadium. Kickoff time is set for 6 p.m.

This game marks the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference opener for UT Martin (2-1). The Skyhawks are 9-12 all-time in OVC openers but have won six of the last eight such games, including a 5-2 mark under head coach Jason Simpson. UT Martin has played Southeast Missouri five times in its OVC season-opener, sporting a 2-3 record. The last time the Skyhawks faced Southeast Missouri in its OVC opener was in 2009, a 29-22 win over the Redhawks in Martin.

The all-time series between these two teams is split at 14-14. UT Martin boasts the upper hand as far as recent success goes, as the Skyhawks have won seven of the last eight against Southeast Missouri since 2005. Under Simpson, UT Martin is 3-1 in games played in Cape Girardeau, including a 27-17 victory last season. The Skyhawks’ lone loss at Southeast Missouri under Simpson came in 2010 (24-17).

UT Martin is coming off a bye week, which has traditionally been a good omen for the Skyhawks under Simpson. UT Martin is 5-1 when coming off an open week under Simpson, with the lone loss coming at Football Bowl Subdivision member Auburn in 2008. In those six games, the Skyhawks have averaged 41.0 points per outing and are a perfect 4-0 against OVC competition.

UT Martin moved up a spot from No. 24 to No. 23 in the Sports Network poll this week. The Skyhawks have not trailed at any point in the season against their two Football Championship Subdivision opponents (won 31-21 at No. 24 Chattanooga and won 24-23 against No. 7 Central Arkansas). Of this week’s Sports Network top 25 teams, only Towson, Northern Iowa and UT Martin have played more than one game against FCS opposition and never trailed at any point of the season. The stingy UT Martin defense has not conceded a single point in the first half against either ranked FCS squads. The Skyhawks enter Week 5 atop the OVC in least sacks allowed (four) and least opponent first downs (66) while boasting the league leader in rushing in DJ McNeil (99.7 yards per game). McNeil has scored a touchdown in all three games this season (two rushing, one receiving).

Southeast Missouri (0-3) has played all three games on the road in 2013, including a 36-19 loss to Southern Illinois on Saturday in the first-ever football game played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. In that game, the score was tied at 19-all with 7:34 to go in the third quarter before Southern Illinois accounted for 17 unanswered points to close out the contest. Sophomore wide receiver Paul McRoberts hauled in five catches for a career-high 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 75-yard reception that evened the score in the third quarter.

This game will be broadcasted live, free of charge courtesy of the OVC Digital Network at the link above. Locally, the game will be carried on the radio at 101.3 WCMT FM. Tom Britt (play-by-play), Chris Brinkley (color) and John Abel (sideline) will have all the live analysis. Live stats will also be available by accessing the link at the top of the page.



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