The University of Tennessee at Martin football team held its second scrimmage of fall camp this evening at Hardy M. Graham Stadium and saw its defense steal the show with several key turnovers and big plays.
With the Skyhawks holding their 15th and final practice of preseason camp before transitioning into game preparations with the start of classes next week, the squad went head-to-head in their second live scrimmage.
After the offense showed a lot of big play potential last week, it was the defense’s time to shine on Friday evening. The defensive unit forced five turnovers with four fumbles and an interception while also blocking a field goal attempt to highlight the night. The quartet of Keion Willis, Ty Woods, Oshae Baker and Levi Evans each were credited with forced fumbles while Jack Lucas, Aaron Webb, Rob Hicks and Charles Perkins tallied recoveries.
One of the fumbles directly resulted in points for the defense as a strip sack by Evans was returned by Perkins nearly 25 years to the endzone. Another key turnover came as Chris Hunter hauled in a tipped ball for an interception at midfield to thwart another drive. The Skyhawks also got it done on special teams as Jarid Johnson busted through the middle to block a field goal attempt.
Despite the strong showing on the defensive end, the Skyhawk offense still had some bright spots in the contest. Cornelious Brown IV had a big 44-yard completion to freshman Malik Baker before also finding Deray Lawrence for a 17-yard touchdown to give the offense its first points of the evening. Dresser Winn also completed a long pass with a 57-yard completion to Ajay Smith for their best plays of the evening.
The Skyhawks also found some success on the ground with two rushing touchdowns. Sam Franklin got the Skyhawks in the endzone with a five-yard scamper before Terayon Sweet also scored on a nine-yard rush later in the game.
UT Martin will now take off Saturday before returning to practice on Sunday and transitioning into its regular season practice model and game preparation leading up to the season opener against Western Illinois on Thursday, Sept. 1.