NO. 22 FOOTBALL TEAM SET FOR HOMECOMING TILT AGAINST OVC FOE JACKSONVILLE STATE ON ESPN3
MARTIN, Tenn. - The No. 22 ranked University of Tennessee at Martin football team clashes with Ohio Valley Conference rival Jacksonville State on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Hardy Graham Stadium. The game – which will be televised on ESPN3 as part of the OVC Game of the Week package – is slated to kickoff at 2 p.m.
This game serves as Homecoming and the 2013 OVC home opener for UT Martin. The Skyhawks are 11-10 all-time in OVC home openers and have won six of the last eight such games. In Homecoming games, UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson boasts a 5-2 record with his teams averaging 31.9 points per game in that span. Overall, the Skyhawks are 33-28 in Homecoming games and have won nine of their last 13 contests dating back to 2003.
Jacksonville State leads the all-time series 27-7, although UT Martin has won three of the last four games against Jacksonville State in games played at Hardy Graham Stadium. Overall, Simpson is 3-4 against Jacksonville State with four of those games being decided by three or less points. Simpson served as quarterbacks coach at Jacksonville State from 1997-99.
Based off these two teams’ statistics so far in 2013, this game may ultimately be decided in the trenches. Jacksonville State leads the OVC in sacks (13, 2.6 per game), while UT Martin ranks atop the league in least sacks allowed (five, 1.2 per game). These two teams are also tied for the league lead in field goal percentage (75 percent) and are the top two squads in red zone defense (Jacksonville State is 81 percent, UT Martin is 83.3 percent).
UT Martin (3-1, 1-0 OVC) moved up a spot to No. 22 in the Sports Network poll this week. The Skyhawks have not trailed at any point in the season against their three Football Championship Subdivision opponents, including two ranked opponents and last week’s OVC opener at Southeast Missouri. The stingy UT Martin defense has not conceded a single point in the first half against any of the three FCS squads it has faced in 2013. Of this week’s Sports Network top 25 teams, only No. 3 Towson, No. 4 Northern Iowa and No. 22 UT Martin have never trailed at any point of the season and had not conceded a point in the first half against FCS opponents. The Skyhawks enter Week 6 boasting the OVC’s leading rusher in DJ McNeil (111.8 yards per game) and Ben Johnson, the OVC leader in tackles (9.8 per game).
Jacksonville State (4-1, 0-1 OVC) is coming off its first loss of the season, a 35-34 overtime home loss to Murray State in the Gamecocks’ OVC opener. That game marked the third straight overtime contest for Jacksonville State, who had previously defeated Division-II North Alabama (24-21) at home and Football Bowl Subdivision member Georgia State (32-26) on the road. Last Saturday, the Gamecocks led in the third quarter but fell behind and forced overtime with a last-second field goal in regulation. After Jacksonville State needed just two plays to score a touchdown on its opening drive of overtime, Murray State used a nine-play drive and a two-point conversion to claim the victory. Junior running back DaMarcus James rushed for three touchdowns for the second straight week, helping the Gamecocks shatter a school record with 652 yards of total offense.
To watch Saturday’s game live on ESPN3, click on the link at the top of the page. WCMT 101.3 FM will broadcast the game locally, with Tom Britt (play-by-play), Chris Brinkley (color) and John Abel (sidelines) on the call. For listeners out of the local broadcast area, they can tune into WUTM 90.3 FM for an online audio feed at the link above. A link for live stats is also available at the top of the page.