FCS team of the week: UT Martin making itself known again
By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - They may be a bunch of "no-names," but the UT Martin Skyhawks are making themselves known to their opponents.
The STATS FCS Team of the Week earned their biggest win yet on Saturday, 38-28 at Eastern Kentucky to take the early lead in the Ohio Valley Conference standings.
UT Martin (3-2, 2-0) has already surpassed last year's win total, a campaign which hardly made sense anyway. The Skyhawks had been one of the OVC's more consistent programs under Jason Simpson, but when his coaching tenure hit a dozen years, it turned dirty - a 2-9 record with his first OVC mark below .500 in an eighth-place finish.
"I'm very proud of our kids," Simpson said. "We take pride in being a bunch of no-names. Our stats aren't great in any phase, but you better buckle up when you play us because these kids will play you hard."
One stat, though, stood out in the win over EKU because it was a reversal of what was expected. Eastern Kentucky entered the game averaging 243.8 rushing yards per game, but UT Martin limited the Colonels to just 96 yards on 40 carries. The Skyhawks defense also notched its third score of the season off a Austin Pickett strip stack as T.J. Jefferson scooped up the ball for a 44-yard touchdown return and a 31-21 third-quarter lead.
The Skyhawks offense flipped the script as well by rushing for 234 yards and four touchdowns - both season highs. After EKU closed within 31-28 early in the fourth, Peyton Logan ripped off a 54-yard scoring run to push the lead back to 10 with 10:44 remaining. Lamarcus Young, Jaimiee Bowe and quarterback John Bachus III joined Logan (112 yards) with rushing TDs in the win.
HONORABLE MENTION: Furman (58-14 win over Samford); Hampton (40-34 win over North Alabama); No. 1 North Dakota State (37-3 win over No. 10 Illinois State); Sacramento State (48-27 win over No. 22 Eastern Washington); VMI (34-21 win over The Citadel)
Updated October 6, 2019