MARTIN, Tenn. – As the long days of practice, meetings and training stretch into late evenings, the University of Tennessee at Martin football team conducted its second of three scheduled scrimmages of fall camp on Saturday evening.
While much of the praise has been garnered by UT Martin’s explosive returning core on the defensive side of the ball, the Skyhawk offense gave fans in attendance a display of the potent scoring ability that has become a trademark of the program during the Jason Simpson coaching era. Primed with five returning starters from a year ago, the Skyhawks look to bring the replicate an offense which ranked second in the OVC in points per game last season with 32.2.
Offensively the Skyhawks were dynamic through the air, completing 37-of-57 passes for 473 yards and four touchdowns while throwing zero interceptions against the OVC’s leading defense from a year ago in takeaways. Senior quarterback Troy Cook completed 18-of-24 attempts for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns while sophomore Kyle Akin completed 10-of-19 attempts for 41 yards and two touchdowns. True freshman Dresser Winn ranked third on the team completing 8-of-12 attempts for 81 yards.
The receiving core was highlighted by redshirt freshman Donnell Williams caught three passes for 43 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Junior tight end Brett Thompson tallied four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown while Tyler Eddings notched the team’s other touchdown reception.
“Well I certainly thought the defense came out on the better end,” said Simpson. “The offense certainly bounced back tonight but I think we have great players on both sides of the ball. The emphasis was to throw the ball around today. Troy did some good things while the receivers went out and made some plays. Our No. 2 quarterback Kyle even came out, ran with the ones a little bit and had a big third down conversion. We are not game ready by any means but we are continuing to get better fundamentally while trying to get better before focusing on our opponent less than two weeks away.”
Despite allowing four touchdowns, the defense held its own in the contest, forcing two turnovers on a forced fumble and a safety. As a team, the defense tallied eight pass breakups led by Antonio Clifton with a pair and three quarterback hurries by Joey Hobbs, Joseph Murry and Antavis Rowe. The Skyhawks would also tally three quarterback sacks by David DuBose, Brandon Anderson and Chase Joy.
UT Martin will take Sunday off before returning to its final week of the standard camp schedule on Monday, Aug. 21 at 7:15 p.m. The Skyhawks will hold practice each day of the week before holding their final scrimmage of the fall on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7:15 p.m.