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UT-Martin’s biggest weapon against Mizzou? A talented second-team all-conference running back

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The Skyhawks boast a back that rushed for 188 yards against Ole Miss a season ago.

UT Martin v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Previewing cupcake games is... interesting.

While one can’t completely overlook an FCS team like UT-Martin, there are reasons why Missouri scheduled this game to open the season. It’ll be a nice little warm up for Drew Lock and Co. to get the juices flowing before the real matchups come down the road.

Nevertheless, it’s Week 1; college football is finally back.

UT-Martin’s defense and an experienced coach in Jason Simpson are the staples of the Skyhawks game, but one of the seven returning offensive players could cause some real problems for the Missouri defense if they don’t pay attention him.

2017 second-team All-OVC running back Ladarius Galloway will begin his senior campaign at UT-Martin Saturday against Missouri. He rushed for 859 yards on 172 carries (5.0 yd/rush) for four touchdowns, and added 22 catches for 307 yards last season.

Galloway proved he shows up for big-time games against FBS teams, as he had his best game of 2017 in a Week 2 matchup with Mississippi. The senior, who grew up in Mississippi wanting to play in the Southeastern Conference, took 24 carries for 188 yards (7.8 yd/rush) and a touchdown in the Skyhawks’ 45-23 loss to the Rebels.

“I really came into the Ole Miss game with a chip on my shoulder,” Galloway said in an interview with HERO Sports. “I wanted to show I could play in the SEC.”

One has to think he’ll come into Saturday’s game against Missouri with that same mindset.

At 5-foot-9, 205 pounds, Galloway is a short, stocky tailback that relies on quickness and elusiveness to succeed. Sophomore defensive end Tre Williams and senior outside linebackers Terez Hall and Brandon Lee will play intricate roles in containing the speedy Skyhawk back.

Even if Galloway has a big game Saturday, Missouri fans should be confident the UT Martin offense won’t do too much damage. The Skyhawks’ starting quarterback, sophomore Dresser Winn (55.6 completion pct, 744 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT in 2017), will step into only the fourth start of his college career in front of over 50,000 raucous Missouri fans.

Good luck with that one, buddy.

Missouri fans have nothing to worry about with the UT-Martin offense. If the Skyhawks’ had a prolific quarterback instead, there would be a little more concern because the Tigers’ secondary is a glaring weakness of the team. However, Missouri’s stout front seven should be able to contain Galloway and the rest of the UT Martin offense just fine.