UT MARTIN FOOTBALL SET TO HOST EASTERN ILLINOIS IN SATURDAY AFTERNOON AFFAIR

October 23, 2017

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The University of Tennessee at Martin football team will return home for a weekend matinee matchup against Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 28. Kickoff from Hardy M. Graham Stadium is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3 as the OVC ESPN3 Game of the Week. Prior to the contest, fans will be treated to a pregame concert by 27bstroke6 in the tailgating area from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday’s contest serves as a matchup of two of the league’s elite programs over the last decade. Since 2006, Eastern Illinois and UT Martin ranked third and fourth, respectively, in total victories with the Panthers possessing a 60-32 mark while the Skyhawks are 58-33.

The Skyhawks (3-4, 1-3 OVC) enter the contest looking to snap a three-game conference losing streak – their longest such streak since the 2014 campaign – after dropping a 31-21 setback at Eastern Kentucky this past weekend. In the contest, UT Martin broke loose from its offensive woes – snapping a lengthy streak of zero offensive touchdowns – but could not overcome four turnovers. Meanwhile, the Skyhawks struggled up front defensively allowing a season-high 229 rushing yards. The contest did mark the collegiate debut of local Dresden native and true freshman Dresser Winn who completed 7-of-15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.

UT Martin leads the OVC in eight team categories including scoring defense (17.0), opponent first down percentage (14.7), opponent third down percentage (29.3), opponent fourth down percentage (14.3), redzone defense (66.7), onside kicks by (50.0), time of possession (31:54) and punt return average (15.4). The Skyhawks also pack big play potential as Tae Martin ranks second in the conference with three interceptions while Kahlid Hagens ranks fourth in both fumbles forced (two) and passes defended (seven) while sitting fifth with a pair of interceptions.

The game will feature a head coaching matchup of UT Martin’s Jason Simpson and Eastern Illinois’s Kim Dameron. Simpson is looking to move into a tie for seventh on the OVC’s conference-only wins leaderboard with his next victory after entering the contest with a 58-35 league mark in 12 seasons while posting a 75-58 career record. Meanwhile, Dameron is in his fourth season at the helm of the Panthers notching a 23-20 career mark.

Eastern Illinois (5-3, 4-1 OVC) enters the contest having just snapped its season-long four-game winning streak to start OVC play before falling to No. 3 ranked Jacksonville State this past weekend. In the contest, the Panthers became the first team to hold a halftime lead over the Gamecocks since 2013 before ultimately falling 30-14. The Panthers are led offensively by quarterback Bud Martin with 48-of-84 completions for 615 yards and five touchdowns while wide receiver Alexander Hollins has snagged 33 receptions for 455 yards and six touchdowns.

The matchup marks the 22nd meeting in series history between UT Martin and Eastern Illinois with the Panthers holding a 13-8 advantage. Despite trailing in the overall series, UT Martin has won five of the last seven matchups against Eastern Illinois with the team’s only losses coming at home in 2013 and 2015.

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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