On Saturday, Oct. 19, APSU (0-7 overall, 0-4 in Ohio Valley Conference) junior running back Julian Franklin had his way with the University of Tennessee at Martin Skyhawks defense (4-2, 3-1 OVC) during the football contest at Governors Stadium.
APSU’s constantly improving running game was not enough to keep pace with a tough Skyhawks offense, losing 44-14.
A strong running attack for the Govs was lost due to miscues in the passing game, two blocked kicks and poor defense.
The Skyhawks tore through the Govs defense on the opening drive of the football game.
Scoring on a four play, 75-yard drive, taking 1:48 off the clock, Skyhawk redshirt senior quarterback Jarod Neal found sophomore wide receiver Caylon Weathers for a 22-yard strike, opening the game 7-0 after the touchdown and extra point.
APSU went three and out on their first drive which gave life to the Skyhawk offense.
Martin scored again on eight plays with a 77 yard drive when redshirt senior running back Trent Garland ran it in from five yards out.
Freshman Taye Davis assisted the Govs in returning the favor with a pounding 16 plays, 70 yard drive.
However, the long drive would eventually stall deep within the Skyhawk red zone.
Freshman kicker Logan Birchfield made his way onto the field for the field goal attempt only to have the kick blocked and picked up by Martin senior defensive back Jordan Landry who took it 87 yards into the endzone for the touchdown, putting the Skyhawks up 21-0 by the end of the first quarter.
The Govs offense remained consistent in their running game attack.
The Govs put up another long drive to start the second quarter and eventually their efforts found success.
Franklin found some running lanes and scampered in for a 37 yard touchdown run.
Franklin had his best game against the Skyhawks, including his first 100 yard performance with 16 carries for a 102 yards.
The Govs defense has played strong all season, despite the losing record.
Stopping the Martin offense and forcing a field goal in the second quarter, Skyhawks redshirt senior kicker Jackson Redditt kicked his first of three field goals of the day, ending the first half 31-7.
Redditt added two more field goals in the second half, keeping the Skyhawk offense moving forward.
The second half scoring slowed down dramatically, a common trend for APSU defense.
The Govs defense bent and gave up large chunks of yards but limited touchdown scores throughout the final 30 minutes.
APSU redshirt junior Timarious Mitchell has been provided some fireworks for beleaguered Govs offense. In the fourth quarter, Mitchell found sophomore wide receiver Jared Beard for a 20 yard strike, their second and final score of the day.
Late in the fourth quarter, Martins freshman running back Jaimee Bowe nailed the coffin shut with a final 17 yard touchdown run, ending the battle 44-14.
The Govs defense struggled to contain the plethora of Skyhawks tail backs, giving up 191 yards total on the ground, including three touchdown runs.
Neal went 15 for 25, with 209 passing yards through the air, keeping the Skyhawk balance and the APSU defense on their heels.
Taylor and Mitchell have found some success recently, combining for 11 for 25 passing attempts and 109 yards.
The Govs are home again this Saturday, Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. where they will take on Jacksonville State, an undefeated team in the OVC, who the Govs have not beaten since 1979.
It is homecoming weekend for APSU and they are looking to earn their first victory of the season and their first homecoming victory since 2008.