August 25, 2014

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MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin football team kicks off the 2014 season with a matchup at Football Bowl Subdivision and Southeastern Conference member Kentucky on Saturday, Aug. 30. The game is slated to start at 11 a.m. CST.

This game marks the opening of the 84th season of collegiate football at UT Martin, who is 38-45-1 all-time in season-openers. This marks the fifth straight year and eighth out of nine years under head coach Jason Simpson that the Skyhawks have begun the season on the road. The Skyhawks have won its past two season openers on the road, turning away Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Memphis (20-17 on Sept. 1, 2012) and then-ranked No. 24 Football Championship Subdivision rival Chattanooga (31-21 on Aug. 29, 2013).

This will be the first time that the Skyhawks and Wildcats meet up on the gridiron. However, the Skyhawks are very familiar with the SEC. All-time, UT Martin is 0-3 against opponents from the SEC - all of which games have occurred in Skyhawk head coach Jason Simpson’s tenure. The Skyhawks played Auburn in 2008, Tennessee in 2010 and Mississippi State in 2011. Later this season, UT Martin will take on Mississippi State (Nov. 8) while Ole Miss (Sept. 5) and Arkansas (Oct. 31) have already been scheduled for the Skyhawks in 2015.

This game will serve as a homecoming of sorts for seven Skyhawk players who hail from the commonwealth of Kentucky as Ben Axline (Shelbyville), Matt Axline (Shelbyville), Nick Brown (Louisville), Corey Rogers (Winchester), Tyler Sweeden (Louisville), Anthony Topps (Fort Campbell) and Dean Wathen (Henderson) all grew up in the Bluegrass State. That list does not include William Tanner, a redshirt senior wide receiver who joined the Skyhawks last spring after walking on for three years at Kentucky.

UT Martin is coming off a 7-5 campaign in 2013, its fifth winning season out of eight under head coach Jason Simpson. Picked to finish fifth by the OVC head coaches and sports information directors, the Skyhawks return 61 players and 10 starters from last season, including FCS Preseason All-Americans Tony Bell (OVC-best 10.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in 2013) and Charles Sweeton (34 consecutive starts at left tackle).

Kentucky returns 49 lettermen and 15 starters from last season’s team who posted a 2-10 overall record. The Wildcats also return Preseason All-SEC selection Bud Dupree, who led all SEC defensive linemen with 61 tackles in 2013. Kentucky was picked to finish seventh in the SEC Eastern division preseason polls under second-year head coach Mark Stoops.

The game will be broadcasted live on the newly-formed SEC Network with Tom Hart (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (color) and Heather Mitts (sideline) on the call. For those who cannot access the SEC Network, the game will also be shown live on ESPN3 at the link above. Locally, the game will be carried on WCMT 101.3 FM with Tom Britt (play-by-play), Chris Brinkley (color) and John Abel (sideline) calling the action live from Commonwealth Stadium. WUTM, UT Martin’s award-winning student radio station, will also broadcast the game locally on 90.3 FM and online at the link above.

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