MONROE, La.- Buoyed by a powerful rushing attack that racked up 367 yards on the ground, including 123 by senior Jyruss Edwards, ULM earned a 48-10 victory over Grambling State on Saturday evening at Malone Stadium.
The 367 rushing yards represented the highest total for the program since recording 360 against Middle Tennessee on Nov. 3, 2007. In addition, the offense crossed the 550-yard mark for the first time since totaling 553 against Tulane on Sept. 29, 2012, with 571 total yards.
Kolton Browning led the passing game for the Warhawks, completing 13 of his 25 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Brayle Brown entered the game late in relief, going 3-of-5 for 33 yards.
Rashon Ceaser led the way in receiving, hauling in six catches for 95 yards, including a 25-yarder, the longest reception of the night for ULM. Cameron Blakes led the Warhawks in tackles for the second straight week with seven.
For the Tigers, D.J. Williams went 11 of 24 for 143 yards and a touchdown, Cedric Skinner tallied 109 rushing yards on 22 carries and Chad Williams gained 42 yards on two catches.
ULM got the game started with a bang, as Cortney Davis received the opening kickoff and ran almost completely untouched up the left side of the field for the 89-yard score. The kickoff return touchdown was the first for the Warhawks since Luther Ambrose scored against FIU on Nov. 19, 2011, and gave ULM a 7-0 lead just 10 seconds into the contest.
The Tigers wasted no time in responding to the quick strike, however. Starting from their own 25-yard line, Grambling used a balanced attack to move the ball up the field. Cedric Skinner had three carries on the drive, but three long passes from Williams were the difference. The quarterback found Chad Williams for 27 yards, Brandon Byrdsong for 18 yards and finally hit Anthony McGhee for the 17-yard touchdown pass in the red zone. Following Johnathan Wallace's point after, the game was knotted up at 7-7.
Edwards led the ground game on ULM's ensuing drive as the Warhawks drove to retake the lead. The senior running back pounded the Grambling defense on each of his five carries, going for 37 yards with a long carry of 18. The go-ahead touchdown came off the arm of Browning, who hit tight end Harley Scioneaux over the middle for the 18-yard score to make it 14-7 in favor of ULM.
After forcing a three-and-out by the Tigers, Edwards once again emerged as the key figure for the Warhawks offense. Set up by a 19-yard punt return by Ceaser, ULM used just three plays to reach the end zone, all of which involved Edwards. The first was a rush up the middle for six yards, followed by a completion from Browning for 12 yards and finished off with a 19-yard run between the tackles for the score, his first of the season to give the Warhawks a two-score lead.
Penalties continued to plague the Tigers on their next drive. Backed up deep into their own territory, a false start penalty on third down doomed the drive, despite Skinner's 10-yard gain on the following play. Ceaser nearly reversed the field on his punt return, but was tripped up by a Grambling defender just before hitting open space.
Browning went 3-of-4 on the next drive for ULM, which brought an end to the first quarter. The senior found Tavarese Maye on an eight-yard pass to open the drive, then hit Ajalen Holley on a short route for a four-yard gain. The biggest play of the drive came as DeVontae McNeal exploded for a 35-yard gain on the ground down to Grambling's 16-yard line on the final play of the quarter. On the opening play of the second, Browning found fellow senior Je'Ron Hamm for the 16-yard touchdown strike and the 28-7 advantage.
After a series of drives exchanged between the two sides with no score, Ceaser called for a fair catch on a punt at his own 33 to begin another ULM drive. Browning took control from that point onward, using both his arm and legs to make plays for the Warhawks. On consecutive plays to start the drive, he found Ceaser for a 12-yard and 25-yard gains before using his scrambling ability to rush for another 19 yards.
The drive seemingly stalled at Grambling's 26-yard line, but a defensive pass interference call on fourth down kept things alive. After moving down to the 11-yard line, Browning immediately hit Kenzee Jackson for his first career touchdown reception as a Warhawk, giving ULM a 35-7 lead heading into the locker room.
McNeal took over as the Warhawks returned to the ground on their second drive of the third quarter. The sophomore controlled the rushing attack, racking up six carries for 59 yards as he was the lone ULM player to gain yards on the drive. He broke his final carry for 34 yards on a dash up the middle before veering to the left side of the end zone for the score. ULM took a 42-7 lead with 8:04 remaining in the quarter after the run.
The scoring for the night was capped off by a trio of field goals: two for ULM and one for Grambling. Justin Manton connected for the Warhawks from 31 and 38 yards, while Wallace hit from 25 yards for the Tigers to add up to the final score of 48-10.
The Warhawks will return to action next Saturday, Sept. 14, as they travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-1). The meeting will be the first time that the two schools have met on the football field and will be televised on the Raycom Sports Network as well as ESPN3. The kickoff time is scheduled for 12:30 ET.
|AUG 30||6:00pm CDT||at Lamar University|
|SEP 6||6:00pm CDT||at University of Houston|
|SEP 13||4:00pm CDT||at Bethune-Cookman University|
|SEP 20||6:00pm CDT||at Jackson State University|
|SEP 27||4:30pm CDT||at Prairie View A&M University|
|OCT 4||6:00pm CDT||at Alabama A&M University|
|OCT 11||2:00pm CDT||Alcorn State University|
|OCT 18||2:00pm CDT||University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff|
|OCT 25||2:00pm CDT||at Texas Southern University|
|NOV 8||2:00pm CDT||at Mississippi Valley State|
|NOV 15||2:00pm CDT||Alabama State University|
|NOV 29||1:00pm CDT||at Southern University|