MARTIN, TENN. – Tennessee-Martin gained 349 yards of total offense in the second half against a tired Iowa Wesleyan College defense as the Tigers lost 56-0 to the Skyhawks Thursday night.
The Tigers hung with the Skyhawks for the better part of the first half, but UTM scored a touchdown before halftime to make it 21-0 and then started the second half with a big play to blow the game open. The NCAA Division I-AA (Football Championship Subdivision) Skyhawks won their season opener, while IWC dropped to 1-1 on the season.
Wesleyan’s offense was shut down, gaining 74 yards all game, including just 18 yards through the air. The Tigers gained just three first downs, with two coming on fake punts in the first half.
The IWC defense got several big plays early in the game and stopped UT-Martin on four of the Skyhawks’ first five drives. Charles Thomas (Fr.-Fontana, Calif.) intercepted a pass on UTM’s second drive and returned it 25 yards, and then later in the quarter recovered a Skyhawk fumble inside the Tennessee-Martin 25-yard line to give the Tigers’ a golden opportunity to take the lead. Wesleyan lost three yards on three plays, though, and Josh Feliciano (So.-San Diego, Calif.) missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.
UTM then took the ball after the missed field goal and got on the board late in the first quarter, going 75 yards in seven plays with Cade Thompson hitting Stephen Shiver for a 13-yard score. The Skyhawks added a second score in the latter stages of the second quarter when Kenny Jones caught a short pass from Thompson, broke a tackle and went 20 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
The Tigers still were in striking distance late in the second quarter when the Skyhawks took over at the IWC 44-yard line with just over four minutes left in the half. UT-Martin proceeded to take just 1:34 to run nine plays and score when Miguel Barnes took it in from five yards out to make it 21-0.
Iowa Wesleyan got a break to start the second half after T.J. Tolliver (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) was intercepted by Jimmy Jones on the first play of the half and returned the ball 35 yards. Brian Farmer (Sr.-Bronx, N.Y.) hustled from behind and stripped Jones of the ball at the end of the play, and the Tigers recovered and took over at their own 32-yard line.
Wesleyan was unable to move the ball, though, and after another Feliciano punt UTM took over at its own 28-yard line. The Skyhawks got a backbreaking play two plays later when star receiver Michael Hicks caught a short pass from Thompson and was wrapped up by several defenders but did not go down and eventually broke free for a 65-yard catch and run for a touchdown to make it 28-0.
The Tigers would have little success stopping the Skyhawks for the rest of the game, as UT-Martin scored on its final five drives. IWC also continued to get little from its offense in the second half, posting just one first down in the second half.
Jaren Maybin (Sr.-Baltimore, Md.) led the Tiger offense with 23 yards rushing on 15 carries. Tolliver finished 8 for 15 passing but for just 19 yards.
Junior Darious Watson (Bellwood, Ill.) led the Wesleyan defense with 12 tackles, 10 of them solo. Dominique Richards (Jr.-Bronx, N.Y.) had seven tackles and freshman Deevonte Browning (Fr.-Deland, Fla.) added six tackles.
Thompson passed for 273 yards and three touchdowns for UT-Martin, which finished with 555 yards of total offense. Barnes rushed for 115 yards on 12 carries and scored three touchdowns.
The Tigers return to action next Saturday when they travel to the University of St. Francis (Ind.) in Fort Wayne, Ind. USF is the fourth-ranked team in the NAIA, and game time is 11 a.m.
For more information regarding the IWC football program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score UTM 56 IWC 0