The UT Martin Skyhawks drop their second straight Ohio Valley Conference game to Southeast Missouri, 31-27.
With the loss, the Skyhawks (1-4, 0-2 OVC) fall three games under .500 and are in a must win situation if they want to win the OVC.
After the game, UTM head coach Jason Simpson expressed his disappointment.
“We had a chance to win the game and didn’t do it,” said Simpson.
The first half saw both teams swapping the lead multiple times. After staring the game with the ball and both team failing to score on their first drive, UTM got on the board first after a 23-yard touchdown pass from Jarod Neal to Rod Wright. SEMO would answer back on the very next drive when Redhawk quarterback Kyle Snyder connected on a 65-yard touchdown pass to Peter Lloyd. On the next drive, the Skyhawks had some big plays to get down the field, but the Redhawk defense held UTM to a 36-yard field goal by Jackson Redditt.
Down 10-7, SEMO opened up the second quarter by grabbing their first lead of the game from a 1-yard quarterback keeper from Snyder. The Skyhawks found the end-zone again on the next drive when Neal threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Kerrick. SEMO answered back on the next drive similar to their previous touchdown, a 1-yard quarterback keeper from Snyder. Neither team was able to get on the board for the rest of the first half, but UTM almost completed a last second hail mary pass to give them the lead. Nonetheless, the Skyhawks went to the locker room for halftime, trailing SEMO 21-17
The Redhawks started the second half with the ball and fumbled deep in their own territory. The Skyhawks took advantage of the turnover by kicking a 29-yard field to make the score 21-20 SEMO. The Redhawks answered back on the next drive when their kicker, Ryan McCrum, nailed a field goal from 47 yards out. UTM regained the lead on the next drive when Neal connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass to William Tanner. The Skyhawks kept the lead for the rest of the third quarter and some of the fourth quarter.
After a SEMO interception at the UTM 1-yard line and a Skyhawk punt, the Redhawks jumped on top again after Snyder connected with Lloyd again for a 28-yard touchdown pass. The Skyhawks, down 31-27, had a couple of opportunities to take the lead back. UTM had the ball at the SEMO 6-yard line and were not able to convert on four straight plays. After the Skyhawks defense held SEMO to a three-and-out deep in their own territory, the Skyhawks again could not convert on fourth down, giving the ball back to SEMO with under two minutes left. Out of timeouts, the Skyhawks watched as the Redhawks lined up in the victory formation, securing a 31-27 win for the Redhawks.
The Skyhawks only played one quarterback (Neal) the entire game. This was the first time this season Dylan Favre did not see any playing time.
“I just thought (Neal) was playing well, especially early, maybe not so well late, but by then we were too far into it,” said Simpson.
Neal did complete 20 out of his 37 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns. Wright, Tanner and Kerrick all caught a touchdown pass from Neal and Wright led the team in receiving with six catches for 161 yards.
SEMO’s Snyder completed 19 out of 30 pass for 269 yards and threw for two touchdowns and an interception. Snyder also ran the ball for two touchdowns. Lloyd led the Redhawks in receiving, catching 10 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns.
The Skyhawks did not score a rushing touchdown in the game, but Trent Garland led the rushing attack, running the ball 12 times for 70 yards.
Overall, the Skyhawks defense allowed 394 yards of total offense while the Skyhawk offense picked up 514 yards of total offense. Despite winning the turnover battle, penalties cost the Skyhawks the most, racking up 7 penalties for 55 yards including several pass interference calls.
The Skyhawks will have a chance to rebound after the loss and pickup their first win in the OVC next week when they travel to take on the predicted OVC favorites, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. Kickoff from JSU Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4.