FOOTBALL TEAM BATTLES BUT FALLS 63-14 AT FBS NATIONAL POWER BOISE STATE
BOISE, Idaho – The University of Tennessee at Martin football team competed throughout at Boise State this afternoon but fell to the Football Bowl Subdivision powerhouse by a 63-14 margin at Bronco Stadium.
The Skyhawks accounted for touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters today. Dylan Favre earned the starting nod and led UT Martin to the endzone late in the first quarter to tie the score at 7-all. Jarod Neal also guided the Skyhawk offense into the endzone early in the fourth quarter. For the day, Favre completed 68 percent of his passes (15-for-22) for 155 yards and a touchdown, while Neal went 6-for-13 for 55 yards.
Jeremy Butler led UT Martin with nine receptions for a game-high 118 yards this afternoon. It was his fourth 100-yard receiving game in just 12 career games at UT Martin. On the ground, DJ McNeil tallied a game-high 87 yards on 19 carries to go along with a touchdown, the 16th rushing touchdown of his career.
Defensively, Ben Johnson tallied a game-high 10 tackles (seven solo). Tony Bell also finished with a spectacular effort, generating six tackles, five tackles-for-loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Camaren Harris added a pair of pass breakups for UT Martin (1-1).
Joe Southwick (17-for-25, 234 passing yards, five touchdowns), Jay Ajayi (80 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Shane Williams-Rhodes (seven catches, 89 yards, two touchdowns) led Boise State, who rank first in the nation with a .871 winning percentage since 2000.
“It’s obviously disappointing that we didn’t give Boise State a better fight,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson said. “We didn’t play mistake-free and they took advantage of that. Now we have to go back to work, look at our mistakes and give ourselves a chance to gain some momentum next week.”
The UT Martin defense came out swarming, forcing a turnover on Boise State’s first offensive possession. On third-and-nine from the UT Martin 37-yard line, Bell broke through for a sack, forcing a fumble and scrambling back to fall on the fumble to give the Skyhawks the ball on their own 45-yard line.
Bell came up big again on UT Martin’s next defensive drive, coming up with yet another sack for a four-yard loss. The Broncos would eventually punt after the Skyhawk defense forced a three-and-out.
Boise State would score on its next drive, as Ajayi rushed up the middle for an 11-yard touchdown at the 8:05 mark.
However, the Skyhawks answered right back to tie the game at 7-all on the ensuing drive. Favre connected with Trent Garland for an 11-yard touchdown strike down the left sideline to cap off a 13-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 5:16. Favre went 5-for-5 for 42 yards passing on the drive and added 16 yards rushing.
The Broncos would then score on a 54-yard pass on their next possession to go ahead 14-7 through one quarter of play.
Boise State recovered an onside kick on its next possession and wound up scoring on a five-yard pass to go on top by a 21-7 margin.
McNeil had a 21-yard rush to start UT Martin’s next drive, as the Skyhawks marched down into Boise State territory. However, the Skyhawks decided to go for it on fourth-and-two from the Boise State 38-yard line and were stopped after one yard.
After Boise State scored to make the score 28-7, the Skyhawks once again started to march the ball down the field – highlighted by a 20-yard pass from Favre to Kyle Kerrick. However, a pair of penalties backed UT Martin up and forced the Skyhawks to punt.
UT Martin’s next defensive drive started out promising, as yet another tackle-for-loss by Bell set up a fourth-and-nine from the UT Martin 37-yard line. However, Boise State converted a 28-yard pass and three plays later, scored on a 5-yard pass.
Boise State would score on an interception return as a result of a tipped pass and a fumble on a kickoff return to go ahead 49-7, the halftime margin.
The Broncos converted a fourth-and-seven with a 30-yard touchdown pass on their opening possession of the second half. UT Martin then stopped Boise State on a three-and-out on the Broncos’ next possession, thanks to a key tackle for loss by Johnson.
Favre hit Butler for a 45-yard pass on UT Martin’s next drive but the Skyhawks could not get back on the scoreboard.
Boise State would score on their next possession before another three-and-out by the UT Martin defense.
Neal then led the Skyhawks to a scoring drive. He found Butler for a 28-yard gain to lead UT Martin into Boise State territory. McNeil then completed the drive with a four-yard rush up the middle. Jackson Redditt successfully booted the PAT to make the score 63-14 with 13:08 left in the contest. The Skyhawks’ scoring drive consisted of 16 plays for 84 yards in a span of 5:09. That would prove to be the last scoring play for either side.
The Skyhawks return to action next Saturday, Sept. 14 for their home opener against Central Arkansas. Kickoff from Hardy Graham Stadium is set for 6 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Matt Cilley