CFN Take: ULM Rolls Late In Win Over NMSU
2014 ULM Warhawks ...
Head Coach: Todd Berry
2014 ULM Warhawks
Nov. 22 ULM 30, at New Mexico State 17
Aug. 28 Wake Forest W 17-10
Sep. 6 Idaho W 38-31
Sep. 13 at LSU L 31-0
Sep. 20 OPEN DATE
Sep. 27 Troy W 22-20
Oct. 4 at Arkansas St L 28-14
Oct. 11 at Kentucky L 48-14
Oct. 18 OPEN DATE
Oct. 25 Texas State L 22-18
Nov. 1 at Texas A&M L 21-16
Nov. 8 at Appalachian St L 31-29
Nov. 15 UL Lafayette L 34-27
Nov. 22 at NMSU W 30-17
Nov. 29 at Georgia Southern
And You Care Because … ULM broke a 17-17 tie with 13 unanswered points on two Justin Manton
field goals and a one-yard Mitch Lane score. The Warhawks appeared to have control early getting out to a 10-0 lead helped by a one-yard Centarius Donald run, but New Mexico State came back on a 37-yard Larry Rose III run and a 32-yard Maxwell Johnson field goal, and Rose added a 64-yard touchdown run in the second, but that would be it for the Aggies.
What Else? ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 35-of-50 passes for 350 yards and a score with a pick
- New Mexico State RB Larry Rose III ran 35 times for 229 yards and two touchdowns
- ULM WR Kenzee Jackson caught 13 passes for 108 yards
- New Mexico State QB Tyler Rogers completed 15-of-32 passes for 102 yards and a pick, and ran 11 times for 42 yards
Game Rating: C
Nov. 15 Louisiana-Lafayette 34, at ULM 27
And You Care Because … The Louisiana-Lafayette got up 17-7 in the first quarter helped by a one-yard Elijah McGuire run and a 16-yard Al Riles catch, but ULM’s Pete Thomas bombed away with a five-yard touchdown pass to Kenzee Jackson in the first quarter and a 45-yarder to Rashon Ceaser late in the fourth. The Warhawks had a late chance, but turned it over. Terrance Broadway threw two touchdown passes and ran for a late score.
What Else? Louisiana-Lafayette RB Alonzo Harris ran 13 times for 133 yards
- ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 38-of-54 passes for 472 yards and two scores, and he ran for a touchdown
- Rushing yards: Louisiana-Lafayette 282 – ULM -39
- Louisiana-Lafayette QB Terrance Broadway completed 10-of-13 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and ran 19 times for 94 yards and a score
Game Rating: B-
Nov. 8 at Appalachian State 31, ULM 29
And You Care Because … Bentlee Critcher hit a 39-yard field goal with 29 seconds to play to give ASU the lead for good in a seesaw game. Down 20-7, ASU rallied to take the lead on two Taylor Lamb touchdown passes including an eight-yarder to Tacoi Sumler and a one-yard play to Barrett Burns. ULM managed three Justin Manton field goals, two Pete Thomas touchdown passes and a one-yard run, but the O couldn’t convert on a two-point conversion with 1:42 to play after a three-yard Ajalen Holley touchdown catch to make it 29-28 ULM. ASU went 53 yards in seven plays leading to the Critcher field goal.
What Else? Appalachian State RB Marcus Cox ran 21 times for 94 yards and a score, and caught five passes for 56 yards
- ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 20-of-41 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran for a score
- Appalachian State QB Taylor Lamb completed 25-of-35 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and he ran three times for 11 yards
- ULM RB Centarius Donald ran 16 times for 71 yards and caught three passes for 23 yards
Game Rating: A-
Nov. 1 at Texas A&M 21, ULM 16
And You Care Because … After a controversial day, suspending Kenny Hill for two games, Texas A&M struggled to put away ULM, getting up 21-7 in the first half and failing to score the rest of the way. Kyle Allen struggled mightily, but he threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Speedy Noil, and Brandon Williams and Tra Carson each ran for short scores, but ULM scored nine unanswered points on three Justin Manton field goals from 51, 23, and 22 yards out. But the A&M defense was able to bend, but not break late to overcome the offensive struggles.
What Else? Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen completed 13-of-28 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown with an interception
- ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 26-of-47 passes for 246 yards and an interception, and ran 19 times for 44 yards
- Total yards: ULM 347 – Texas A&M 243
- Texas A&M RB Brandon Williams ran 19 times for 71 yards and a score
Game Rating: C+
Oct. 25 Texas State 22, at ULM 18
And You Care Because … Robert Lowe ran for a 21-yard touchdown run as part of a Texas State run of 15 unanswered points late in the fourth, and the defense held for the win. ULM had a 15-0 lead in the third quarter helped by Justin Manton field goals from 51 and 43 yards out and a six-yard run from Centarius Donald, but the Bobcat offense woke up with Lowe starting out the scoring on a 15-yard dash late in the third. Terrence Franks caught a 40-yard touchdown pass with under seven minutes to play, and a Tyler Jones two-point conversion got the Bobcats within three before the final scoring drive.
What Else? Texas State QB Tyler Jones completed 14-of-20 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown, and ran 17 times for 36 yards
- ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 22-of-36 passes for 236 yards and a pick, and ran 11 times for 29 yards
- Third down conversions: ULM 7-of-19 – Texas State 3-of-14
- Texas State RB Terrence Franks caught two passes for 68 yards and a score, and ran six times for 16 yards
Game Rating: B-
Oct. 11 at Kentucky 48, ULM 14
And You Care Because … Kentucky struggled early, getting down 14-3 on two Pete Thomas touchdown passes for the Warhawks. It was all Wildcats the rest of the way, scoring 45 unanswered points helped by three Patrick Towles touchdown passes and interception returns for scores from Josh Forrest and Marcus McWilson. Stanley Williams cranked out a 58-yard touchdown run late in the third to put it well out of reach.
What Else? Kentucky QB Patrick Towles completed 16-of-28 passes for 216 yards and three scores
- ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 20-of-31 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns with a pick six, and Brayle Brown completed 2-of-8 passes for 20 yards with a pick six
- Kentucky WR Javess Blue caught three passes for 109 yards and two scores
- Third down conversions: ULM 8-of-20 – Kentucky 1-of-12
Game Rating: D+
Oct. 4 at Arkansas State 28, ULM 14
And You Care Because … It was the Fredi Knighten show as the ASU quarterback ran for scores from three, 29 and 12 yards out, and hit Tyler Trosin for a 12-yard touchdown on the way to a 28-7 lead in a sloppy game. ULM couldn’t slow down the Red Wolves and struggled offensively, getting a 59-yard Ajalen Holley touchdown catch in the early fourth, but up 14-7, ASU took over scoring two touchdowns in less than a minutes. ULM didn’t get back on the board until 1:30 to play on a 41-yard Kenzee Jackson catch.
What Else? ASU QB Fredi Knighten completed 21-of-36 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown with two picks, and ran 20 times for 71 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Gordon ran 15 times for 168 yards
- Turnovers: ASU 3 – ULM 2
- Penalties: ASU 11 for 110 yards – ULM 8 for 69 yards
- ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 23-of-39 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown
Game Rating: C+
Sept. 27 at ULM 22, Troy 20
And You Care Because … ULM got a 29-yard field goal from Justin Manton with just over two minutes to play, and the D held on in a back-and-forth battle. The Warhawks took a 13-0 lead on two Manton field goals and a 64-yard Ajalen Holley touchdown catch, but Troy came back with two Brandon Silvers touchdown passes to take the lead. Holley came up with a 15-yard scoring play in the third, but Troy answered again with a second Chandler Worthy touchdown for the lead midway through the fourth. However, the Trojans missed on the two point conversion, leading the way to a 13-play game-winning drive.
What Else? ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 28-of-43 passes for 328 yards and two scores with an interception
- Troy QB Brandon Silvers completed 32-of-34 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns and ran 14 times for a team-leading 32 yards
- ULM WR Rashon Ceasar caught 12 passes for 121 yards, and Ajalen Holley caught five passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns
- Time of possession: ULM 34:44 – Troy 25:16
Game Rating: B+
Sept. 13 at LSU 31, ULM 0
And You Care Because … LSU took a little while to get going, but it didn’t have any problems as Darrel Williams ran for two touchdowns and Leonard Fournette took off for a 24-yard score. ULM never threatened, finishing with just 93 yards of offense.
What Else? LSU’s running game only ran for 4.2 yards per carry, but Leonard Fournette ran ten times for 52 yards and a score and Kenny Hilliard ran for 50 yards and a touchdown.
- ULM finished with 16 rushing yards on 18 carries with no run longer than six yards.
- LSU QB Anthony Jennings completed 11-of-18 passes for 139 yards and a pick, and ran seven times for 20 yards.
- ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 16-of-30 passes for 77 yards.
Game Rating: D
Sept. 6 at ULM 38, Idaho 31
And You Care Because … Centrarius Donald ran for a one-yard score with nine seconds to play to cap off a 73-yard drive in the final minute to break the 31-31 tie and come up with the win. ULM seemed to have things in hand with a 21-7 first quarter lead on a 34-yard Donald run and two Pete Thomas touchdown passes, and it took a ten point lead into the fourth on a 21-yard Donald run, but Idaho kept pressing with Matt Linehan throwing two touchdown passes including a 32-yard scoring play to Deon Watson with just over four minutes to play, but the defense couldn’t hold.
What Else? ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 24-of-44 passes for 384 yards and two score with a pick, and Centrarius Donald ran 20 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns to go along with two catches for 22 yards.
- Idaho committed 11 penalties for 115 yards with three penalties. ULM got flagged five times for 40 yards and turned it over once.
- Idaho QB Matt Linehan completed 26-of-47 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns with two picks.
- With the Florida game cancelled, this was Idaho’s first game of the season.
Game Rating: A
Aug. 28 at ULM 17, Wake Forest 10
And You Care Because … ULM scored 17 unanswered points in the second half, culminating in a nine-yard touchdown run from QB Pete Thomas with under four minutes to play. The Wake Forest offense sputtered all game long, only generating a 38-yard field goal – the Demon Deacon touchdown came on a blocked punt return.
What Else? Five. Five first downs, -3 yards rushing and a total of 94 yards of total offense. That’s what Wake Forest came up with in a disastrous performance with nothing going right. There was only one turnover, but the line was absolutely abysmal allowing seven sacks.
- In his debut, former Colorado State/NC State QB Pete Thomas completed 23-of-41 passes for 189 yards and ran for the game-winning score for ULM. For Wake Forest, true freshman John Wolford had a nightmare of a time, completing just 12-of-22 passes for 97 yards and a pick. He was under pressure all game long.
- Wake Forest LB Brandon Chubb made 18 tackles, and the defense did a decent job, but it didn’t get any help from an offense that just couldn’t generate any long drives. The Demon Deacons held the ball for just 24:37.
- Neither offense was able to do anything to get excited about, but at least ULM was able to run the ball a bit. Centarius Donald had a nice run on his way to 117 yards, taking the pressure off Thomas and the passing attack.
Game Rating: C-
There are two ways to look at the 2013 ULM season.
The season is half full – the 6-6 season didn’t really represent a massive dip. There were some huge clunkers, and there were some games the Warhawks should’ve been more competitive in, but there was a win over Wake Forest and a nice season-ending victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. A two-game drop wasn’t the end of the world.
The season is half empty – The were way too many blowouts to mediocre teams, losing to Tulane, Western Kentucky and South Alabama by a combined score of 98 to 38. Just one extra win over an average team would’ve meant 7-5 and a likely bowl bid, but instead, ULM dipped right back down to its own pre-2012 world.
Now the Sun Belt is bigger, a bit stronger, and a lot better up top, and ULM has to try to navigate its way through it and become more of a conference factor.
The Warhawks won a piece of the 2005 Sun Belt title, but it’s been hard to come up with the consistency of Arkansas State or Louisiana-Lafayette over the last few years. There’s only been one bowl appearance in the school’s history, and coming up with winning records has been rough with just one – 2012 – since joining the Sun Belt.
But head coach Todd Berry kept his team chugging down a rough backstretch, and even the though the offense wasn’t good enough after a great 2012, there were just enough explosions to get to six wins. This year, with no Kolton Browning at quarterback and just five starters returning, it’s going to be a bit of a transitional year, and that’s where the defense has to come up big.
Hit-or-miss, the D struggled a bit when the offense wasn’t providing any help. It was okay for the most part - allowing fewer than 20 points in four games and seeing the stats blow up in losses to Oklahoma and Baylor - but it got worse as the season went on. With nine returning starters and nine of the top 11 tacklers back, the potential is there to be a bit more consistent.
Berry has made this into a solid Sun Belt program. It’s now a danger to the BCS conference schools after coming up with wins in each of the last two years, and it has shown the ability to rise up and tag anyone in the Sun Belt. Now it has to find more of an even keel, and it has to be more than just the also-ran watching other league teams go to bowls.
What to watch for on offense: The running game had better work. It didn’t blow up in the great 2012 season with 1,847 yards, but it was spread out over the season – actually, over the first chunk of the season – and scored 24 times. When the running game died, the losses and problems kicked in. Last year, the running game came up with 1,474 yards and just ten touchdowns. Even worse, 367 of the yards and two of the scores came in one game against Grambling, and 225 more came in the blowout over the woeful Georgia State. There were moments when Kolton Browning and the passing attack saved the day, but for the most part, when the ground game didn’t hit 100 yards, ULM struggled. The Warhawks were under 140 yards on the ground in all six games.
What to watch for on defense: All the experience returning has to translate into one of the best defenses under Todd Berry. It was a good D last year, even with the problems late, but the run defense struggled mightily against the better teams. Coinciding with the losses and problems when the offense couldn’t run the ball, the run defense couldn’t come up with stops and couldn’t get off the field way too often. Just like the team couldn’t win when the offense didn’t run well, the losses came when the defense couldn’t hold up, allowing 200 yards or more on the ground in five of the six losses and getting ripped up late by Arkansas State and South Alabama. There are too many veterans not to be better.
The team will be far better if… it scores when it gets the chance. Disastrous in the red zone, ULM scored just 25 of 38 times when getting inside the 20. Part of the problems was just getting there – there were times when the team just wasn’t even close – and part of the problem was converting. It’s not like there were a slew of close losses that came from misfires, but if the offense is going to rebuild a bit, it has to score and come up with points when they’re there for the taking.
The Schedule: The Warhawks don’t leave the state of Louisiana until October, highlighted by a non-conference opener against Wake Forest before starting out the Sun Belt season with Idaho and Troy. The problem, though, is one of the in-state games is at LSU. The other huge problem is the payback that comes after with six of the final eight games on the road. Texas State and the rivalry showdown with Louisiana-Lafayette are at home, and going to New Mexico State, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State shouldn’t be that big a deal, but a midseason road stretch of at Arkansas State, at Kentucky and at Texas A&M will be a problem.
Best offensive player: Senior QB Pete Thomas. The NC State and
Colorado State transfer has found a home. The big passer isn't going to run like
Kolton Browning, but he has a big arm and should improve the passing attack.
Junior receiver and punt returner Rashon Ceaser should now blow up - he didn’t exactly
rock, he was the team’s most dangerous target leading the team with 65 grabs for 964 yards and five touchdowns and did a great job as a punt returner. For a team that needs playmakers and has to find options to build around, Ceaser is a great place to start.
Best defensive player: Junior LB Hunter Kissinger. There are several good veterans in the secondary in safeties Cordero Smith and Mitch Lane, and there are some solid linemen in Gerrand Johnson on the nose and Darius Lively on the end, but Kissinger is the team’s leading returning tackler and the one the D will work around. Great in pass coverage as well as a run stopper, he should be in the mix for all-star honors.
Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Pete Thomas. Kolton Browning meant just about everything to the offense, but
Brayle Brown got his shot and two starts – he wasn’t bad. A great athlete, he's
every bit the runner that Browning was, and while he struggles with the passing
game, that means Thomas should be able to step in and star right away. All of a
sudden, the Warhawks have helped themselves in a huge way.
The season will be a success if ... the Warhawks win seven games. As last year showed, six wins isn’t going to get it done for a bowl game and isn’t going to move things forward. The offense didn’t rock last season and the team still got to six wins. With a better defense, and several winnable games mixed in with the forget-about-it dates with LSU and Texas A&M. If the Warhawks can take care of conference home games against Idaho, Troy, Texas State and Louisiana-Lafayette, they might get there with one upset and wins in two of three road dates at Appalachian State, New Mexico State and Georgia Southern.
Key game: Sept. 20th at South Alabama. The Jaguars are coming off a strong season and have the potential to be a major player in the Sun Belt title chase. It’s Georgia Southern’s first true Sun Belt game, and if it can come up with a win on the road, all of a sudden the chance is there for a great start with Appalachian State, New Mexico State, Idaho and Georgia State up next – 5-0 in conference play isn’t out of the question before facing Troy. However, beating USA on the road is a must.
2013 Fun Stats:
- Penalties: Opponents 93 for 860 yards – ULM 61 for 503 yards
- Sacks: Opponents 27 for 139 yards – ULM 16 for 82 yards
- Red Zone Scores: Opponents 33-of-43 (77%) – ULM 25-of-38 (665)
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