After two grueling weeks on the road, you could argue UT Martin needed a bit of a pick-me-up. Enter NAIA Cumberland. Eight different Skyhawks scored a touchdown in as UTM rolled over the lower division team 63-7.
“Obviously it’s good to get a win under our belt after a tough two games to start the season,” Skyhawk head coach Jason Simpson said. “One of the things that I’m most proud of is that everybody got to play and get the experience of college football. That will help us as we go forward and will help our growth as a team.”
The Skyhawks piled up 621 yards of total offense in the lopsided victory.
UT Martin got on the scoreboard first after both teams’ first drives stalled. The Skyhawks drove 10 plays for 87 yards in a span of 2:43, capped off with a Neal touchdown strike to Jordan in the right corner of the endzone.
The Skyhawks would force back-to-back punts on Cumberland’s next two drives – including a three-and-out that gave UT Martin the ball at its own 9-yard line, Dylan Favre then took over at quarterback for the Skyhawks, leading a toughdown drive. But on his next possession, Farve fumbled inside his own 15. UT Martin would need a goal-line stand to keep Cumberland out of the endzone, as the Bulldogs failed on a fourth and goal from the two-yard line.
On the Skyhawks’ ensuing possession, Jarod Neal, who started the contest, returned to the game, and UT Martin was officially off to the races. By halftime, it was 35-0, as UT Martin was well on their way to a blowout.
Abou Toure rushed for a career-high 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries for UT Martin, (1-2) returning to form somewhat against the weaker opposition after struggling last Saturday against Central Arkansas. In their third game of the year, UTM’s defense finally got into the interception column, thanks to Tony Bell.
The Skyhawks continue their three-game homestand next weekend when they begin Ohio Valley Conference play against No. 25 Eastern Kentucky. Kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 20 is set for noon at Hardy Graham Stadium.