MONROE, La.- Kolton Browning's return proved to be a boon for ULM (4-4, 2-1 SBC) as the senior threw for 224 yards and four touchdowns as the Warhawks cruised to a 38-10 victory over Georgia State (0-8, 0-3 SBC) on Saturday evening at Malone Stadium.
Centarius Donald anchored the offense on the ground as Browning handled the passing game, racking up 126 yards and a score on just eight carries, an average of 15.8 yards per rush. Browning pitched in with his own legs as well, totaling 53 yards on 11 totes.
Tavarese Maye led the way in receiving for ULM, hauling in seven catches for 49 yards. Je'Ron Hamm, Rashon Ceaser and Kenzee Jackson each had four catches apiece.
For the Panthers, Jonathan Jean-Bart totaled 60 rushing yards and Ben McLane had 86 through the air. The Warhawk defense did an excellent job of bottling up their opponent, holding Georgia State to just 244 yards of offense and forcing four turnovers in the contest.
Browning came in and made an immediate difference for the Warhawks, hitting Tony Cook on a short, four-yard route for a touchdown on just the second drive of the night. Donald set up the scoring play with a fantastic 69-yard run. The junior escaped multiple tackles, including getting away from one Panther defender who nearly had him wrapped up low, and broke free down the far sideline before being brought down inside the red zone. A five-yard run by Jyruss Edwards set up the scoring toss.
Set up with excellent field position following Roland Veal's first career interception, ULM reached deep into the playbook for some trickery. With Browning under center, Ajalen Holley ran a reverse and took a pitch from the senior, then showed off his own strong arm by hitting Hamm for a 26-yard gain down the far sideline. The play was upheld after review, and Holley then flashed his skills as a receiver by hauling in a seven-yard strike from Browning for his second touchdown grab of the season. Following Justin Manton's extra point, the Warhawks took a 14-0 lead.
The Panthers clawed their way onto the scoreboard early in the second quarter, cutting ULM's lead in half on a strip sack and fumble return for a touchdown. With the Warhawks driving, Terrance Woodard knocked the ball free from Browning's hands and it was scooped up by Robert Ferguson who carried it 87 yards for the score. The fumble return touchdown was the first in school history for Georgia State and left ULM with only a one-score advantage.
Wil Lutz connected on a 25-yard field goal for Georgia State after a sustained drive in the middle of the quarter, and the Panthers elected to make a gutsy onside kick call after the score. While they did indeed recover the kick, Hunter Kissinger came up with a key play for the Warhawks' defensive unit by picking off McLane and returning it down to the Georgia State 31. Three consecutive completions from Browning, capped by a 19-yard heave to Hamm, rebuilt the two-score advantage for ULM with a 21-10 lead.
Browning pieced together one more strong drive just before the half to send ULM into the locker room with a commanding 28-10 advantage. The quarterbacked logged 18 yards on a trio of carries and completed passes of 20 and 23 yards, but Donald ultimately found the end zone for the second consecutive game, plunging in from one yard out to end the first half's scoring.
Manton kicked off the second half with a 36-yard field goal at the 9:51 mark to increase the lead to 31-10, and Browning finished off the night's offensive fireworks with a beautiful 24-yard strike to Harley Scioneaux in the back of the end zone. The tight end just managed to get a foot down, sealing the final 38-10 victory for ULM.
The Warhawks will face a short week before traveling to face Troy next Thursday, Oct. 31. It will be the first meeting in the series since 2011, when ULM came away with a dominant 38-10 victory over the Trojans in Alabama. Kickoff time for the contest is currently scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and it will be carried on ESPNU.