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MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin football team opens the month of November with an Ohio Valley Conference showdown against Murray State on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Hardy Graham Stadium. Kickoff time is set for 1 p.m.
This game will serve as a “White Out” game, as all Skyhawk fans are encouraged to come dressed in all white. This game also is in conjunction with the NCAA’s “Take a Kid to the Game” event, as kids age 14 and younger will receive a free ticket with the purchase of a full-priced adult ticket.
Saturday’s matchup is a rematch of one of the wildest games in the OVC last season, a 66-59 Skyhawk win at Murray State. Anchored by quarterbacks Derek Carr (UT Martin) and Casey Brockman (Murray State) – who both currently serve as quarterback assistants for their respective schools – the two teams set an OVC record for combined points in a conference game. Carr established a new NCAA FCS record with a passing efficiency rating of 243.78 after going 42-for-46 for 560 yards and seven touchdowns, while Brockman set an OVC record with eight touchdown passes after going 45-for-67 for 537 yards.
Murray State leads the all-time series 35-16-1 but the Skyhawks have won seven of the last eight since 2005, including four straight in games played at Hardy Graham Stadium. UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson is 6-1 against the Racers, as his teams have averaged 49.9 points per game in those seven contests. Under Simpson, the Skyhawks have tallied three of the program’s eight highest scoring games against Murray State (76 points in 2007, 66 points in 2012 and 63 points in 2008).
For all of the offense that has been displayed in this series over the last several years, this game may be decided by defense and special teams. The Skyhawk defense leads the OVC in third down conversion percentage (29.3 percent, seventh nationally), least amount of opponent first downs (18 per game) and red zone defense (75 percent, 18-of-24). On the other hand, Murray State ranks atop the league in kickoff returns (24.2 yard average) and kickoff coverage (41.6 yard net average).
UT Martin (5-3, 3-2 OVC) piled up a season-high in points with its 38-14 road victory at Austin Peay last Saturday. Skyhawk wideout Jeremy Butler accounted for season-highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (171) while adding a pair of touchdown receptions, giving him six scores in the past four games. Quarterback Jarod Neal set career-highs in passing yards (293) while OVC rushing leader DJ McNeil tallied 114 yards on 17 carries to go along with a touchdown, the 18th rushing score of his career (tied for fourth all-time in UT Martin history).
Murray State (5-3, 3-1 OVC) is coming off a bye week after a 31-3 home win over Austin Peay on Oct. 19. In that game, the Racer defense held Austin Peay to just 196 yards of total offense. Offensively, Jaamal Berry rushed for a season-best 146 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Ole Miss transfer Maikhail Miller completed 86.4 percent of his passes (19-for-22) for 160 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown went to Walter Powell, who became Murray State’s all-time leading receiver in the game. Powell currently ranks first in the nation in touchdown receptions (13) and is 10th nationally in all-purpose yards (151.8 yards per game).
Fans can watch the game live on the OVC Digital Network at the link above. Locally, fans can tune into WCMT 101.3 FM to hear Tom Britt (play-by-play), Chris Brinkley (color) and John Abel (sidelines) call all the action live. For fans out of the listening area, WUTM 90.3 FM (UT Martin's award-winning student radio station) will stream the game online at the link at the top of the page. Live stats will be available by clicking the link above.