COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – In one of the wildest finishes of the 2012 season, The University of Tennessee at Martin Skyhawk football team ran out of answers against host Tennessee Tech Saturday afternoon at Tucker Stadium.
After UT Martin senior quarterback Derek Carr connected with junior Jeremy Butler in the corner of the end zone on fourth-and-16 for a touchdown in overtime, holder James Satterfield picked up an errant snap and tried to tack on a two-point conversion and grab the victory for the Skyhawks. Instead Satterfield was hit by Tennessee Tech’s Tommie McBride and coughed up the ball.
Tennessee Tech claimed a 45-44 overtime victory over the Skyhawks. The loss cost the Skyhawks at least a share of the Ohio Valley Conference championship and an automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
“I am disappointed,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson said. “Give Tennessee Tech credit. They have been close every week and today they got one.”
UT Martin falls to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the OVC, while Tech is now 3-7 on the year and 1-6 in the league.
When Tennessee Tech claimed a 38-31 lead with 1:10 left in the fourth quarter, UT Martin was forced to answer. This time Carr found wide receiver Chris Thompson in a crowd end zone on second down-and-14 for the score. Senior Cody Sandlin added the PAT and with six seconds left in the game the score was tied at 38-all.
Carr was 35-for-52 for 422 yards and four touchdowns. He did not throw an interception. Carr completed passes to seven different receivers in the game, but his favorite was Butler who caught 13 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
The Skyhawks led 31-17 after three quarters but gave up three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter and were forced to answer Tennessee Tech’s effort.“We didn’t tackle and we didn’t score when we had to,” Simpson said.
Sandlin, who entered the game just 11 points shy of tying UT Martin’s school record for most points scored by kicking, missed a 35-yard field goal with 4;03 to play in the second quarter. He also missed a 38-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. However, Sandlin tied the game at 17-all when he made a 48-yarder with one second on the clock in the first half.
“Our kids fought hard, and we had a chance to put it away,” Simpson said. “Now the only thing we can do is win next week (against Tennessee State) and go 8-3 and watch the selection show to see if we get invited.”
UT Martin will host Tennessee State at Hardy M. Graham Stadium Saturday, Nov. 17. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.