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September 28, 2013MONROE, La.- ULM (2-3) suffered a 31-14 setback in its final non-conference matchup against Tulane (3-2) at Malone Stadium on Saturday evening.
On a 44-yard pass to Cortney Davis in the second quarter, senior quarterback Kolton Browning became the school's all-time leader in passing yards, pushing former Warhawks standout Steven Jyles into second place. Browning finished the game with 134 yards on 12-of-27 passing, giving him 9,051 yards for his career.
Brayle Brown and Ajalen Holley connected midway through the fourth quarter on a 25-yard strike, giving each their first career touchdowns. Holley finished with 53 receiving yards, while Brown totaled 133 passing yards on the night.
Orleans Darkwa led the way for the Green Wave, racking up 118 yards on the ground with a touchdown. Rob Kelley added 76 yards and another rushing touchdown, while Nick Montana went 7-of-20 for 65 yards with a touchdown and a pick.
After a short ULM drive to begin the game, Tulane received its first possession after downing a punt by Justin Manton at their own 24. The Green Wave offense picked up short chunks of yardage, including 28 yards on six carries, before stalling out at the ULM 39. Cairo Santos, the 2013 Lou Groza Award winner as the top kicker in the nation, nailed a long 56-yard attempt to give Tulane an early 3-0 lead in the contest.
The Warhawks had a couple of drives deep into Tulane territory during the first half. In the first quarter, ULM got into the red zone buoyed by two passes from Browning, one to Tony Cook for 22 yards and another to Rashon Ceaser for 18 yards. Unfortunately they could not capitalize on the field position, turning the ball over on downs after an incomplete pass to Harley Scioneaux.
Another long drive in the second quarter that included Browning's record-breaking pass also did not produce any points. The senior quarterback found Davis on the long toss followed by a 19-yard connection with Ceaser down to Tulane's 15-yard line. Justin Manton could not connect on the potential tying field goal, though, leaving the Green Wave with the same 3-0 advantage.
Tulane turned to its rushing attack once again after regaining possession at ULM's 48-yard line after a Manton punt. Six carries for 42 yards brought the Green Wave into the end zone, capped off by Kelley's 7-yard plunge. Following the extra point by Santos, Tulane took a 10-0 lead that they would maintain heading into the locker room.
Two quick touchdowns to begin the second half gave Tulane a three-score lead. Darkwa ran a score in from one yard out, and the Green Wave created a strip sack and returned the fumble for the second touchdown to go up 24-0.
ULM finally got onto the scoreboard with an explosive special teams play from Ceaser. Fielding a punt by Peter Picerelli at the 12-yard line, Ceaser soared into the open field and outran Tulane's coverage men to the left end of the end zone for the 88-yard score. The punt return touchdown was the first for the Warhawks since Nov. 10, 2001, when Mikkal Henry had a 53-yard scoring return against Troy.
A pair of touchdown passes, one by each team, finished off the scoring for the evening. Montana hit Ryan Grant for a 26-yard score for Tulane in the third quarter, while Brown found Holley in the end zone on a 25-yard route midway through the fourth to reach the final score of 31-14.
ULM will have a short week before returning to action in a nationally-televised contest against Western Kentucky on Thursday, Oct. 3. The Warhawks defeated the Hilltoppers in dramatic fashion last season, edging them, 43-42, on a two-point conversion in overtime. The matchup will be carried on ESPNU.