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Skyhawks Power Past Houston Baptist 52-28

The No. 18 ranked University of Tennessee at Martin football team showcased its explosive offense and opportunistic defense by forcing seven turnovers enroute to a 52-28 road victory at Southland Conference foe Houston Baptist.

The Skyhawks (5-3) pushed their winning streak against FCS opponents to four games behind an offensive unit which racked up 517 yards of total offense. Meanwhile the defensive unit had sticky fingers with seven forced turnovers in the runaway victory.

UT Martin pounded the ground with 346 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore Zak Wallace had a monster game with 15 carries for 155 yards and four touchdowns. His performance marked the first four-touchdown performance by a Skyhawk since Brandyn Young accomplished the feat in 2008. Freshman tailback Sam Franklin also posted a nice game with eight carries for 139 yards and a touchdown.

The Skyhawks also moved the ball through the air as quarterback Dresser Winn threw for 171 yards and one touchdown. Graduate receiver Colton Dowell carried a big load in the pass game with 141 receiving yards on six catches. Along with leading the team in receptions, Dowell cemented himself in UT Martin’s record book by becoming the program’s all-time leading receiver with 2,594 yards – surpassing the previous record of 2,494 set by William Mackall (1985-88).

The fireworks weren’t contained to the offensive side of the ball as UT Martin’s defense recorded seven forced turnovers with four fumbles and three interceptions. Giovanni Davis had a big day with both a forced fumble and an interception in the win while Rob Hicks and Carson Evans also registered picks. Tyler Gore and Deven Sims also forced fumbles while Daylan Dotson tallied a pair of recoveries – including jumping on one in the endzone while John H. Ford II and Evans also tallied recoveries.

I’m proud of them,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson said. “It wasn’t as pretty as we wanted it to be, but at the end of the day they look at your wins, not how you got there. We were able to run the ball well and our defense got some big turnovers. I’m also proud to be a part of Colton’s record-breaking day. We will enjoy this one and get back to Hardy Graham next week.”

Houston Christian (2-6) racked up 447 yards of total offense despite the team’s turnover issues. Quarterback Justin Fomby threw for 394 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Ismail Mahdi had a big day with 187 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Vernon Harrell had 155 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

The Skyhawks will return home for their next matchup, taking on Kennesaw State on Saturday, Nov. 5. Kickoff from Hardy Graham Stadium is scheduled for Noon.

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