UTM capitalizes on turnovers to defeat SEMO, 27-17
Published: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 06:10
UTM heads into a bye week after three straight wins by capitalizing on four turnovers to upset Southeastern Missouri during their homecoming at Houck Stadium.
The Skyhawks took advantage of two fumbles in the first half and two interceptions in the second half to claim the victory of 27-17 over SEMO. With the win, UTM increases to a record of 4-1 in the OVC and 6-2 overall.
“I’m glad we got the win,” UTM head coach Jason Simpson said. “They did everything they had to do but they lost the two fumbles and two interceptions. That was the big difference- the four turnovers.”
Senior quarterback Derek Carr led the Skyhawks to the victory by throwing 28-22-1 for 156 yards. The team also had a combined effort of 28 carries for a total of 164 yards.
The Skyhawks ran the ball more during the game to open up their play options.
“We ran it enough to split the field,” Simpson said. “They weren’t going to give up any big plays and it worked. When is the last time you saw our lead receiver [Jason McNair] have six receptions for 36 yards? So, we went a different way today.”
Senior running back Tevin Barksdale led the Skyhawks in rushing yards.
“I was proud of our offensive line and Tevin Barksdale for having 11 carries for 107 yards,” Simpson said. “The pass is opening that up.”
Running backs Jason McNair and DJ McNeil had seven carries each for 35 yards and 23 yards respectively. McNair also had six receptions for 36 yards and Barksdale had three receptions for 21 yards.
Carr’s 3-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Quentin Sims in the 2nd quarter tied Sims for first with the most UTM career touchdown receptions, which is 17. Sims is now tied with Dwayne McKinney, who played at UTM during 1979-82.
Sims had five receptions in the game for 27 yards. That should bring his career total to 116 carries for 1,430 yards.
Although a few plays slipped through the defense, they stepped up in the redzone to keep the Redhawks from crossing the goal line, which forced two field goal attempts.
“Our defense is very close at being very good,” Simpson said. “Some third downs, it doesn’t look like it, but we’re close."
“We weren’t really good on third down- we struggled there. They got 7 of 14 [third down conversions]. When you get the interceptions- that splits the field.”
Freshman safety Marquis Clemons made two major plays against the Redhawks. Clemons recovered the fumble that was forced by freshman Trent Garland in the 2nd quarter, which resulted in a 32-yard field goal by senior place-kicker Cody Sandlin.
Clemons also intercepted SEMO quarterback Scott Lathrop’s pass in UTM territory with 0:24 left in the game to seal the fate of the game. Lathrop completed 12 of 19 passes for 153 yards and had two interceptions.
“He’s a young player who’s coming along,” Simpson said. “We need him to make some more plays. Our young players have got to step up.”
Junior defensive back Fred Flenorl, who recently had surgery that would keep him out for the rest of the season, still seemed to be on the minds of the team members.
“He’s on the guys’ minds,” Simpson said. “We’re missing Fred. You see the neck brace, you see the scar on his neck. Our goal is to get Fred Flenorl a conference championship ring and we’ll see what we can do to accomplish that.”
The Skyhawks will bring the action back to Hardy M. Graham Stadium on Nov. 3 where they take on OVC-foe Jacksonville State.