November 7, 2016

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The University of Tennessee at Martin football team will look to send the team’s 19 seniors out on a high note with a Senior Day contest against Ohio Valley Conference rival Southeast Missouri on Saturday, Nov. 12. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m. with senior recognition festivities set to get underway prior to kickoff.

The Skyhawks (6-4, 5-1 OVC) enter the contest following a strong road performance where they defeated No. 24 Eastern Illinois by a score of 33-17. UT Martin held its opponent to under 300 yards of total offense for the third consecutive week while forcing seven turnovers – four interceptions and three fumble recoveries - which ranked most turnovers gained since the 2004 season. The win marked the fourth consecutive OVC victory for UT Martin while notching the fourth game with three takeaways on the year.

UT Martin boasts the league’s top scoring offense at 35.6 points per game while also ranking tops in defensive touchdowns (six), interceptions (14), turnovers gained (24), punt return average (13.7) and third-down conversion percentage (47.4 percent). The Skyhawks also present the league’s second ranked total defense (323.2 ypg), pass defense (202.2 ypg) and rush defense (121.0 ypg). Junior safety Kahlid Hagens was recently honored for his individual play against No. 24 Eastern Illinois with both STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Week and OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors in which he tallied a game-high nine tackles, a fumble recovery and a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown. Hagens currently leads the team with 82 tackles on the season.

Senior running back Ladevin Fair has paced the offense recently, tallying 43 carries for 241 yards and four touchdowns over the past two contests. Meanwhile, quarterback Troy Cook continues to lead a solid offensive unit by completing 132-of-220 passes for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns. Cook currently ranks 10th nationally in yards per pass completion (14.28 ypc), 11th in pass efficiency (153.2), 14th in passing yards per attempt (8.56 ypa) and 14th in passing touchdowns.

UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson moved into sole possession of eighth place on the OVC’s all-time wins list at 71 with a victory over No. 24 Eastern Illinois. Simpson is in his 11th season at the helm of the Skyhawks with an overall record of 71-53 and 56-31 league mark. Southeast Missouri is led by third-year head coach Tom Matukewicz who owns a 13-20 overall mark.

Southeast Missouri (3-6, 3-3) is looking to get back to its winning ways after dropping three of its last four games – including a 17-10 loss to No. 2 Jacksonville State on homecoming this past Saturday. The Redhawks rank second in the conference in scoring defense at 23.6 points per game while boasting the league’s third-best total defense (323.2 ypg) and rushing defense (133.1 ypg).

The Redhawks are led offensively by quarterback Jesse Hosket who has completed 156-of-293 passes for 2,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Running back Will Young has tallied 129 carries for 688 yards and four touchdowns while wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson has tallied 28 receptions for 561 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively Roper Garrett leads the team with 73 tackles – including 8.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions while Chad Meredith has tallied 69 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks.

Saturday’s game serves as the 32nd meeting between the two programs with UT Martin holding a narrow 16-15 advantage. The Skyhawks have won four of the last five meetings with Southeast Missouri’s lone victory coming as the road team on Sept. 20, 2014. Dating back to 2008, each contest has been decided by 10 points or fewer.

The game will be streamed live, free of charge, courtesy of the OVC Digital Network at the link above. Fans can also tune into Mix 101.3 FM to hear Tom Britt (play-by-play), Chris Brinkley (color) and John Abel (sideline) provide analysis. WUTM, UT Martin’s award-winning student radio station, will also broadcast the game locally on 90.3 FM. Links for both radio broadcasts, along with live stats can be accessed through their respective links above. For in-game updates, follow the Skyhawks on twitter @UTM_Gameday.

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