Nashville, Tenn. - With the season slowly winding down, The Tennessee State University Tigers will travel for their final two contests making the first stop in Martin, Tenn. to face Tennessee at Martin.
The Ohio Valley Conference Game of the Week on the Wazoo Sports Network will take place on Saturday, Nov. 13 with kick-off scheduled for 6 p.m. at Grantham Field/Graham Stadium.
The Tigers will look to cure a four-game losing streak, playing without a win in the OVC this year, while keeping the Skyhawks from being the outright victor of the Sgt. York Trophy. With a loss, UTM will share the York title with defending champion Tennessee Tech.
Radio: Big Blue Sports Network (WVOL 1470 AM - Nashville, Tenn. / WOJG 94.7 FM - Jackson, Tenn. / WMRB 910 AM - Columbia, Tenn.)
Web Stream: OVCsports.TV (Pay-Per-View)
Television: Wazoo Sports Network - Nashville TV 30
*Links will be available on game day
TSU (3-6, 0-5 OVC) holds a 13-6 series advantage over UTM (5-5, 4-3 OVC). The Skyhawks have won three of the last four meetings including a 28-7 win during Homecoming 2009.
The Tigers won nine straight over UTM between 1996-2004. In 2008, TSU picked up their last win against the Skyhawks in Martin, Tenn. in a climatic 30-27 overtime victory.
LAST TIME OUT FOR TSU
The Tigers watched a 28-7 halftime lead vanish, falling to Eastern Illinois, 31-28, in overtime during Homecoming/Senior Night in front of a crowd of 21, 596 at LP Field.
In overtime, EIU scored on the first possession with a 37-yard field goal from Cameron Berra. The Tigers looked to have an opportunity to seal the game on 3rd-and-9 when Dominic Grooms connected with Jeremy Pryor on a 23-yard reception on the Panthers one yard line.
However, during Pryor's one hand lunge for the goal line, the ball came loose with the fumble bouncing out of bounds in the end zone for a touchback giving EIU the win.
TSU BY THE NUMBERS
After topping the conference in several key categories throughout the year, TSU, now only leads the OVC in first downs allowed with 17.1 per game. However, the Tigers still remain among the best and rank second in total defense (311.6 ypg), pass defense (163.6 ypg, rushing offense (202.2 ypg), sacks (25).
SCOUTING UT MARTIN
Finishing the preseason rankings at No. 6, the Skyhawks are having an up-and-down season but have won three of their last four beating Austin Peay State last Saturday, 28-12. Behind kicker Cody Sandlin, UTM, posts the best kicking game in the league in regards to putting points on the board. The Skyhawks are first in field goals, hitting 10-of-12 (.833), and point afters, 24-of-24.
They rank second in pass offense (232.8 ypg) and pass defense efficiency (112.9) while ranking third in the OVC in pass defense, total defense, sacks (22), and first downs and first downs allowed.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Dante' Thomas leads the offense and is third in the conference with 80.9 yards per game and 5.4 yards per rush. He posted a career-high in rushing (186), carries (24) and TDs (2) in the Tigers 37-7 win over North Carolina A&T. He earned CFPA D-I Performer of the Week honorable mention for that performance.
Adding support in the backfield is Terrance Wright who recorded a career game last week rushing for 138 yards on 14 carries (9.6 yards/carry) and one touchdown.
Dominic Grooms made his first start of the season last week completing 15-of-29 for 270 yards and one touchdown. The yardage is the most a TSU quarterback has passed for since 2008.
Last week, Pryor joined Wright and Grooms' career games adding one of his own. Pryor pulled in a game-high, six receptions, for 121 yards. Calvin McNairl, coming off a 100-yard receiving game the week before, accounted for two touchdowns. Running for a score from under center and catching a 20-yard strike from Grooms.
All-America and OVC defenders, Eugene Clifford and Rico Council, lead the defense and are the Tigers' top tacklers combining for 133 stops. Clifford leads the team with 69 tackles while Council follows with 64.
Clifford is leads in the OVC in passes defended (11), third in interceptions (4) and was added to the Buck Buchannan Watch List at midseason. The award is given to the Football Championship Subdivision top defensive player.
Council, with his current stops on the season, moved up the career tackle list to third all-time with 194. He was named the OVC's Defensive Player of the Week twice this year.
For the Skyhawks, All-American and first team All-OVC selection, linebacker Josh Bey spotlights the team after garnering All-Preseason honors. He was the only Skyhawk to make the selection at the beginning of the season.
Bey ranks second in tackles in the conference with 84 averaging 8.4 per game. He is also second in forced fumbles to go with 3.5 sacks on the season.
Also on defense, Tim Cox and Darrin Nalls are listed in the top four in sacks in the OVC with both recording five apiece. Cox is adds 11.5 tackles for a loss to his pregame resume, which lists him second in the league.
Quarterback, David Carr, has managed the offense and is second in total offense (225.1 yards/game) and passing yards (225.7 yards/game). Carr has thrown for 12 and a league best, 2, 257 passing yards. He completed 18-of-28 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns against APSU last week connecting with 10 different receivers.
Other notable players for UTM include: Daniel Chamberlain, Joe Hook and C.J. Estelle. Chamberlain finished with 125 yards receiving last week while Hook and Estelle earned OVC weekly honors this season. Hook was named Specialist of the Week (10/31) and Estelle was Newcomer of the Week (9/19).