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Was Win over Memphis the Biggest ever for UTM Football?

Skyhawks Past and Present Give their Take

By news admin
By ghammond@wbbjtv.com

MARTIN, Tenn. - Was UT Martin’s win over the University of Memphis football team the biggest win in the history of the program?

It depends on who you ask.

“It’s huge to see this,” said Nick Stamper.

Former players and alumni – like former all-conference defensive end Nick Stamper – have a unique perspective when tackling the question. Stamper was a member of the football team when wins – of any kind – were rare.

The Skyhawks won just five games during the three seasons Stamper was a member of the team.

“It was rough. It was ugly at times,” said Stamper.

Stamper played for UTM from 1999-2002. While at UTM he twice sacked then Eastern Illinois quarterback Tony Romo. Stamper later spent the NFL preseason with the Baltimore Ravens.

“We didn’t have a lot of wins, but we had great memories,” said Stamper.

The memory Coach Jason Simpson and the UTM football team created Saturday is one local football fans won’t soon forget.

As impressive as the 20-17 victory was, it was not enough to propel UTM into the FCS Top 25 Coaches Poll. That speaks to the importance of conference wins.

“The last couple of years, they’ve been a winning program. It’s going to be tough to top the championship (in 2006) because you have longevity of winning in that conference,” said Stamper.

So, where Does Stamper rank the win over Memphis?

“It was the biggest win nationally that UT Martin has got, just thinking about recruiting and everything else that goes into the program. Those guys did an awesome job,” said Stamper.

Stamper and several of his former teammates traveled to Liberty Bowl stadium to see the game.

Coach Simpson, however, is careful to temper the team’s excitement over the win.

“You can look back and it can be a milestone win for you. It can be an historic win, it can be something that propels you to a memorable season,” said Coach Simpson.

“If you’re not consistent and stay in the OVC race, you’ll forget about this win because it came so early in the season,” said Simpson.

UTM will aim for consecutive wins over Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponents as they travel to Northern Illinois to face the Huskies this weekend.
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