November 11, 2013

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MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin football team hits the road for the final time in the 2013 season when it travels to Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Kentucky for a noon kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 16 at Roy Kidd Stadium.

This game serves as a matchup of two of the best OVC programs in recent history. Since 2006, Eastern Kentucky (46 OVC wins) and UT Martin (39 OVC wins) rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in league victories. These two programs have not finished below .500 in conference play since 2006 and have combined for eight top-two OVC finishes in that span.

Eastern Kentucky leads the all-time series by a 22-1 margin, including an 11-0 record in games played in Richmond. However, the last two Skyhawk visits to Richmond have been decided by a touchdown or less. UT Martin fell 31-25 at Eastern Kentucky in 2009 and narrowly fell 23-16 at Eastern Kentucky in 2011. Since Skyhawk head coach Jason Simpson took over in 2006, five of the six games between these two teams have been decided by seven points or less – including UT Martin’s 10-7 home victory over the Colonels in 2010.

On paper, these two teams appear to be evenly matched. Both squads enter the game with identical 6-4 overall and 4-2 OVC records with a chance to move into sole possession of second place in the OVC with a win on Saturday. UT Martin is 4-2 in road games in 2013 (with both losses coming to Football Bowl Subdivision opponents) while Eastern Kentucky boasts a 4-1 home record. The victor in this game will at least clinch a winning season with one regular season contest remaining. The Skyhawks host No. 2 Eastern Illinois while Eastern Kentucky travels to Murray State to conclude the regular season.

UT Martin battled throughout but fell 21-6 at Football Bowl Subdivision member Memphis last Saturday. Thanks to a pair of Jackson Redditt field goals, the Skyhawks led 6-0 with 1:34 remaining in the second quarter before Memphis came back to score 21 unanswered – including a pair of touchdowns with under eight minutes remaining in the game. Abou Toure rushed for a career-best 114 yards on just 17 carries for the Skyhawks, while Jeremy Butler hauled in five catches for 95 yards. Thad Williams (season-high 10 tackles), Camaren Harris (interception, two pass breakups) and DJ Roberts (2.5 tackles for loss, fumble recovery) guided the stingy UT Martin defense.

Eastern Kentucky is coming off its worst OVC loss in program history, a 66-10 setback at Jacksonville State. In that game, Jacksonville State scored on 11 of its 14 possessions and forced the Colonels into a season-high four turnovers. The Eastern Kentucky offense was limited to just 213 yards of total offense, including 111 rushing yards on 59 attempts (1.9 yards per carry). Quarterback Jared McClain accounted for the Colonels’ lone touchdown – a two-yard run midway through the third quarter.

Fans can watch the game live, free of charge, on the OVC Digital Network at the link above. Locally, fans can tune into WCMT 101.3 FM to hear all the action. Live stats will be available by accessing the link at the top of the webpage.