August 9, 2014

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MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin football team conducted its first scrimmage of the preseason this evening at Hardy Graham Stadium.

Today’s practice was the eighth of the preseason for the Skyhawks and the first of four scheduled scrimmages before the team plays the University of Kentucky on Aug. 30. The practice began with positional drills and stretches for the first hour before the scrimmage took place.

The scrimmage consisted of 81 plays from different locations on the field allowing both offense and defense short yardage situations. While the offense scored three touchdowns through the air, the defense caused three sacks and held the offense to 16 first downs. The defense was led by Nick Dance and Marquis Clemons who recorded four tackles each.

“The defense gave up a couple of big plays but I thought they did a great job in the red zone,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson said. “They showed a lot of athleticism and team speed on the defensive side of the ball. With this group of guys we are able to give multiple looks and it will help us when the season gets going.”

The Skyhawk offense saw quarterbacks Jarod Neal, Dylan Favre and Manny Stocker combine to go 18-for-37 for 307 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, Abou Toure led the team with six of the team’s 32 carries that combined for 97 yards. The longest rush of the day came from Trent Garland who reeled off 22 yards on the scrimmage’s fourth play. The top receiving target was Corey Jordan who caught four passes.

“For the receivers everything is new to them, because we lost some guys to graduation from last season, so every day is an adventure for them but I am seeing progress,” Simpson said. “As for the quarterback situation both Neal and Favre are playing well and I feel comfortable that both can lead us to victory.”

The scrimmage's first situation put the offense on its own one-yard line and saw the defense allow just three first downs on 16 plays. The highlight of the segment came as Ryan Isom caused a safety on the final play at the goal line.

The next segment simulated an opening drive after a kickoff with the ball placed at the offense’s 30 yard line. During the practice the offense came alive after being stalled on three consecutive drives. Favre connected with Reuben Duckworth for the first down then followed up the play with a 60-yard touchdown to Tyriq Patrick.

After the touchdown, the defense wouldn’t allow another for the rest of the segment and forced its three sacks.

The final segment gave the offense the ball 40 yards from the end zone. The offense scored its final two touchdowns of the scrimmage during this segment due to great quarterback play. Neal needed two plays to find the end zone as he connected with Kyle Kerrick twice for the opening touchdown. Four plays later, Stocker found Taylor Higgason in the corner of the end zone.

The Skyhawks return to the practice field for a scheduled two-a-day on Monday, Aug. 11 in preparation for their second scrimmage next Saturday, Aug. 16 at 7:15 p.m.

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