Postgame Press Conference
Postgame Locker Room Celebration
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin football team closed out the 2017 season with a dominating road performance at Ohio Valley Conference foe Tennessee Tech, notching the program’s first conference shutout since the 2010 season in a 24-0 victory.
The Skyhawks finish the season with a 6-5 overall mark and 4-4 record in conference play. After posting just two winning seasons in UT Martin’s Division I history prior to head coach Jason Simpson arriving, the Skyhawks notched their ninth in the past 12 years. Additionally, with the victory it marked the 13th consecutive season in which the Skyhawks have finished at least .500 in league play.
UT Martin scored on the team’s second drive of the contest and never looked back down the stretch. While scoring points in the first, second and fourth quarters was key, it was the team’s stingy defense which sealed the victory. UT Martin notched its first shutout victory against an OVC school since Nov. 13, 2010 against Tennessee State. With the shutout, the Skyhawks lowered their Division I program-record scoring defense to just 14.3 points allowed per game – besting the previous mark of 15.7 set in 2006.
As a team, the Skyhawks notched 17 first downs and 389 yards of total offense – including three touchdowns to lead the way. Defensively, UT Martin held Tennessee Tech to just 184 yards – including 55 rushing and 129 passing yards.
Freshman quarterback Dresser Winn led an efficient offense by completing 13-of-22 pass attempts for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Winn also tallied 12 carries for 61 yards and one touchdowns to notch 281 yards of total offense. Running back Ladarius Galloway concluded the game with 44 rushing yards, notching the 10th best single-season rushing performance in program history with 859 rushing yards on the season.
The senior receiving duo of Londell Lee and Caylon Weathers concluded their respective Skyhawk careers with touchdown performances. Lee led the team with four catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Weathers made the most of his two catches for 23 yards and a touchdown. With the touchdown, Weathers moved into a tie for third place on the program’s all-time receiving touchdowns with list 17.
On the other side of the ball, senior safety Joseph Este led all players with a career-high 12 tackle performance. Junior James Gilleylen notched six tackles and two pass breakups while Chris Williams-Hall paced the squad with 2.5 tackles for loss.
“We were not going to let these seniors get off the field without a win,” said Simpson. “While we may not have met the lofty expectations our programs set forth for ourselves heading into the season, I am proud of these guys. Our seniors have helped build this program to where we can set such expectations. Our defense battled all season long and I tip my hat to them.”
The Skyhawks would get on the scoreboard first with a touchdown midway through the first quarter. With the team’s second drive of the quarter beginning on the UTM 36, Winn find receivers Devonte Howard and Galloway to move into Golden Eagle territory. Another big pass play from Winn to wide receiver Londell Lee went for 23 yards to set up first and goal. With the ball on the TTU 4, Winn would hit Caylon Weathers for a four-yard touchdown strike in the corner of the endzone to make it 7-0. With the touchdown reception for Weathers, he notched the 17th score of his career to move into a tie for third place on the program’s career touchdown leaderboard with Dwayne McKinney.
UT Martin would add to its margin in the second quarter. On a scoring drive which saw the Skyhawks begin their drive on the team’s own 27, Winn would hit Galloway for a 69-yard pass completion down the left sideline. With the ball once again within the redzone, the Skyhawks would settle for a 21-yard field goal by Mitch Mersman to make it a 10-0 advantage heading into the break.
The Skyhawks chipped on another touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. On the first drive of the fourth, Winn would hit Howard for an eight-yard completion on fourth and one. With a fresh set of downs, Winn would look to the endzone where he found Lee for a touchdown over the middle for 16 yards.
The final punctuation mark would be placed on the contest with the Skyhawks ensuing drive. After starting the drive in TTU territory, Winn found Lee again for a 20-yard completion to move inside the redzone. Looking to take care of business himself, Winn kept the ball on the following play for a 15-yard scramble into the endzone to make it a 24-0 contest.