After spending the first two weeks of the season on the road, the UTM football team will return to Martin this Saturday for their home opening contest against the Bacone College Warriors.
The Skyhawks (0-2) are searching for their first win of the season after dropping their season opener to Cincinnati 28-7 and their game last week against Hawai’i 41-36.
UTM had second half leads in both games and led Hawaii by 10+ points twice before the Rainbow Warriors rallied back. Statistically, UTM matched up well with Hawai’i, edging the Rainbow Warriors in total offense (418-378), first downs (22-15) and time of possession. UTM had an opportunity to win, but a strong second half rally by Hawai’i gave the Rainbow Warriors the five point win.
“We had our chances,” said UTM head coach Jason Simpson. “Right now we’re sitting here 0-2, and you can say that we lost to two FBS opponents, but we’re not looking at it like that. We had a chance to get one of those [games] and came up short.”
Nonetheless, the Skyhawks will look to put their early misfortunes behind them as they focus on their next game Saturday and their upcoming Ohio Valley Conference schedule next week.
On Saturday, UTM will host Bacone College of the NAIA’s Central State Football League. The Warriors (0-2) are led by their first-year head coach Lawrence Livingston, the former quarterbacks coach at Savannah State.
Bacone College is led by quarterback Trey Seward, who has racked up 278 passing yards and one passing touchdown. The Warriors are also led by running back Johnny Thomas (32 carries, 101 rushing yards) and wide receiver Antonio Wilson (five catches for 101 yards, one touchdown). Erik Brown is the leading defensive player with 20 tackles in their first two games.
Like the Skyhawks, the Warriors come into the matchup searching for their first win. Bacone College dropped their season opener 62-14 to Division II Missouri S&T, and loss last week to Robert Morris 48-6.
For the Skyhawks, quarterback Troy Cook will get the start again this week while Gunnar Holcombe recovers from an injury suffered in the Cincinnati game. Cook completed 12 of his 26 passes against Hawai’i for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Jaimiee Bowe continues to lead the Skyhawk rushing attack, carrying the ball 36 times for 215 yards and one touchdown.
The game on Saturday will also give the Skyhawks the opportunity to showcase their six million dollar stadium renovation project to Hardy M. Graham Stadium. The renovations include a new four-story building that will house the press box, club level, visiting locker room and academic support areas.
UTM and Bacone College will square off on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. at Graham Stadium. A special ribbon cutting ceremony will take place in front of the new press box at 11:30 with refreshments served afterwards.