2015 Record: 7-4 (6-2 OVC)
Key Losses: QB Jarod Neal (Second Team All-OVC), WR Rod Wright (Second Team All-OVC)
Key Returnees: OT Jackson Roberts (Second Team All-OVC), DL Damani Taylor (Second Team All-OVC),
In 2015, UTM’s strength was NOT their defense. It was their passing game. Jarod Neal captained an offense that averaged 294 passing yards per game, ranking 11th in the FCS. Jarod Neal ranked 9th in the FCS in passing yards last year with 3117. Unfortunately for UTM Jarod Neal is gone. Rod Wright, UTM’s 2015 leading receiver, is gone. And Trent Garland, UTM’s 2015 rushing leader, is gone. I’m sure you’re catching on.
That being said, UTM’s spring practices looked promising. Quarterbacks Troy Cook and Gunner Holcombe both looked like promising replacements for Jarod Neal. Whoever wins the quarterback battle at UTM will really benefit from having Caylon Weathers as a target as the 6 foot 4 receiver has really stepped his game up in practices this off season. Runningback Jaimiee Bowie also had a productive spring practice. The defense will need some players to step up as the Skyhawks will lose 4 starters on that side of the ball.
Schedule and Predictions: 5-6 (5-3 OVC)
L 9/1 @ Cincinnati
L 9/10 @ Hawaii
W 9/24 vs. Tennessee Tech
W 10/1 @ Tennessee State
W 10/8 vs. Austin Peay
L 10/15 @ Murray State
L 10/22 @ Georgia State
W 10/29 vs. Eastern Kentucky
L 11/5 @ Eastern Illinois
W 11/12 vs. Southeast Missouri State
L 11/19 @ Jacksonville State
UTM once again made the mistake of selling themselves out to too many FBS schools and this year they will pay for it with their first losing season since 2011. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them beat Murray State but I’ll pick KD Humphries to pull the upset at home for now.