October 7, 2013

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin football team heads to Tennessee Tech on Thursday, Oct. 10 for an Ohio Valley Conference midweek tilt at Tucker Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

This game serves as the first of three games for UT Martin in the seventh-annual Sgt. York Trophy series. The Sgt. York Trophy goes to the winner of the quadrangular season series between the four OVC football playing schools located in the state of Tennessee (Austin Peay, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin).The award is only the second traveling trophy that involves more than two teams in college sports, as the other is the Commander in Chief's Trophy which has been contested between Air Force, Army and Navy annually since 1972. UT Martin has won the Sgt. York trophy twice (2010, 2012) and has an 11-7 all-time record in the series – the best mark of the four Tennessee OVC schools.

Tennessee Tech leads the all-time series between these two schools with a 22-10-2 mark, although the series is split 5-5 dating back to 2003. The series has been especially close since Jason Simpson took over at UT Martin, as five of the seven contests have been decided by a touchdown or less – including a 45-44 Tennessee Tech overtime win in Cookeville last season. Simpson is 3-4 against the Golden Eagles with all three of his victories in the series coming at Tucker Stadium in Cookeville.

The head coaches for these two schools share a unique bond. UT Martin’s Simpson played under Tennessee Tech’s Watson Brown when the pair was at Mississippi State from 1990-92. Brown served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under head coach Jackie Sherrill while Simpson was a quarterback for the Bulldogs. Simpson would later transfer to Southern Miss to finish out his final two years of college.

UT Martin (3-2, 1-1 OVC) fell for the first time against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent in 2013 with a 41-27 home loss to Jacksonville State last Saturday. In that game, the Skyhawks set new season-highs in total offense (493 yards) and passing yards (370) but were held to a season-low 123 rushing yards. Dylan Favre passed for a career-best 290 yards while finding Jeremy Butler for a pair of touchdowns, giving Butler his fourth multi-touchdown performance in 15 career games at UT Martin. Chris Thompson (seven receptions, 107 yards) also had his second career 100-yard receiving effort in the loss.

Tennessee Tech (3-3, 0-2 OVC) is coming off a 35-24 road loss at Murray State on Saturday. In that game, the Golden Eagles fell behind 21-0 early in the second quarter and could not recover despite several noteworthy individual performances. Ladarius Valier rushed for a game-high 97 yards on just 13 carries while Zack Ziegler hauled in a game-high 12 receptions for 85 yards. Redshirt freshman Jared Davis made his first start at quarterback in place of injured starter Darian Stone, completing 61.9 percent of his passes (26-for-42) for 207 yards before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter with an injury of his own.

This game will be broadcasted live, free of charge, courtesy of the OVC Digital Network at the link above. Locally, fans can tune into WCMT 101.3 FM to hear Tom Britt (play-by-play), Chris Brinkley (color) and John Abel (sidelines) call all the action. Fans from outside the local broadcast area can listen to WUTM – the Skyhawks’ award-winning student radio station – online by clicking on the link at the top of the page. Live stats will also be available at the link above.

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