It was just seven months ago when UT Martin kicker Tyler Larco gave his team a win at Austin Peay in the final seconds.
Governors’ kicker Maddux Trujillo had the chance to return the favor in Martin, Tennessee, this fall, but his 49-yard attempt with seven seconds remaining was partially blocked. The No. 12 Skyhawks (7-1, 3-0 Ohio Valley Conference) handed APSU its fifth loss this season with a 17-16 win at home.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a heartbreaker like that,” said head coach Scotty Walden.
“We talked about it at halftime that they were going to play physical and they were going to come back and make a push. They made a push and did a great job, and I give them a ton of credit.”
Trujillo’s field goal in the second quarter was the only points from the offense on Saturday. Walden said he was shocked by his team’s offensive performance but credited UTM for forcing quarterback Sheldon Layman into multiple checkdowns.
APSU (3-5, 1-2 OVC) scored the first 16 points of the game off the field goal and two pick-sixes from defensive backs Koby Perry and Isaiah Norman.
But a 7-yard rush from Zak Wallace and a 42-yard field goal from Larco brought the game within one possession in the fourth.
UT Martin quarterback Keon Howard – who played under Walden at Southern Mississippi in 2017 – capped off a 96-yard drive with a go-ahead touchdown pass with 35 seconds remaining.
“I wish things would have gone the other way … but I am really proud. I told Keon after the game I was really proud of him,” Walden said. “I was with him at Southern Miss. when he was a sophomore, and I’ve seen him grow and mature.
“I’m proud of the way he’s playing. I wish, obviously, he wouldn’t have played that good against us in the second half, but I’m dang proud of him.”
After a 30-yard pass to CJ Evans and an overturned fumble call, Layman put his team just outside of field goal range with 21 seconds left. The quarterback ended his second collegiate start with an 8-yard run to set up Trujillo’s attempt.
The kick fell short of the goalposts, and the Skyhawks ran one more play to end the game. The Govs finished with 199 yards of offense, their lowest output this season.
APSU falls to 1-2 in conference play and is now in fourth place behind Martin, Southeast Missouri and Tennessee State. The Governors host Eastern Illinois for their next game on Nov. 6.
“We’re going to play for our seniors, we’re going to play for our football team, we’re going to play for our program (and) we’re going to play for Clarksville,” Walden said. “These last three games, we have three opportunities. That’s three opportunities for us to get better (and) to be better. We have to attack them full steam ahead.”