By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Through all the ups-and-downs for the 2017 season, it's time to close the book on the campaign and the Tennessee Tech football team will do that on Saturday as they wrap up with a visit from UT Martin.
The game is also Senior Day with the 2017 senior class -- Dontez Byrd, Mike Cain, Elliott Normand, Jordan Jackson, Nadir Barnwell, Jerome Wright, Joe Robertson, Charles Rutledge and Jarred Dorton -- recognized before the game.
Kickoff on Saturday is at 1:30 p.m. Roger Ealey and Dylan Vazzano will provide the call on 98.5 KISS FM and the Golden Eagle Sports Network, while Tim Scruggs and Sam Brooks will handle broadcast duties for WCTE and the OVC Digital Network.
SETTING THE SCENE
In this season finale for both teams, there isn't a lot at stake other than pride as both teams are trying to conclude 2017 on a high note. Tech has lost two straight games after earning its lone victory of the season thus far against Tennessee State. Meanwhile, the Skyhawks have won two of their last three games with wins over Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri before falling 14-7 to Jacksonville State last Saturday as the Gamecocks clinched their fourth straight OVC championship.
Today is the 35th meeting between Tennessee Tech and UT Martin. The Golden Eagles own a 19-14-1 record against the Skyhawks in a series that dates back to 1932 with a 0-0 tie. The first game in the Modern Era was played on Oct. 3, 1970, with a 17-6 Tech victory in Martin. In Ohio Valley Conference play, Tech holds a 14-11 record. The Skyhawks have won the last four meetings and six of the last 10.
Tech's last win over UTM was a 45-44 overtime victory in 2012. The Golden Eagles are 10-6 against the Skyhawks in Tucker Stadium, but are 1-5 in the last six contests in Cookeville.
SCOUTING THE SKYHAWKS
UT Martin comes into the contest with a 5-5 record, including a 3-3 record in OVC play. The Skyhawks are averaging 19.2 points per game on offense and allowing 15.7 points on defense. Offensively, UTM is averaging 288.6 yards per game, opponents 282.8 … UTM is outscoring its opponents 192-157, 56-27 in the first quarter, 41-36 in the second and 41-31 in the fourth … Ladarius Galloway has rushed for 815 yards and four touchdowns on 165 carries, an average of 4.9 yards per carry and 81.5 yards per game … Troy Cook has been the Skyhawks' leading passer, completing 94 of his 165 passes for 1,004 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 125.5 yards per game … Londell Lee is UTM's leading receiver with 317 yards and three touchdowns on 21 catches, an average of 15.1 yards per catch and 31.7 yards per game … James Gilleylen leads UTM defensively with 82 tackles (30 solo and 52 assisted), 7.5 for-loss, two sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Tennessee Tech comes into the game with a 1-9 record, 1-6 in OVC play. The Golden Eagles are averaging 17.4 points per game on offense and allowing 30.1 points on defense. Offensively, Tech is averaging 311.2 yards of offense per game and allowing 417.0 to its opponents … Tech has been outscored 301-174 this season, outscored 71-41 in the first quarter, 76-17 in the second and 96-47 in the third. Tech has outscored its opponents 69-58 in the fourth … Andrew Goldsmith leads the Tech rushers with 574 yards and three touchdowns on 107 carries … Andre Sale is Tech's leading passer with 1,520 yards on 123-of-209 passing, but Luke Ward has started the last two games. Ward has thrown for 374 yards and five touchdowns on 33-of-66 passing … Dontez Byrd has caught 72 passes for a school-record 976 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 13.6 yards per catch and 97.6 yards per game … Aderick Moore leads Tech with 83 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble, while Elliott Normand has 81 tackles with eight TFLs, one sack, one interception and one forced fumble.
Senior receiver Dontez Byrd needs two catches to tie his single-season receptions record from 2016 (74) and 24 yards to become the first Tennessee Tech receiver to reach 1,000 yards in a single year.
Photo by Tony Marable