Warhawks Inside Slant

ULM has put itself in a somewhat unexpected
position as it prepares to go to Middle
The Warhawks have won their last
two Sun Belt Conference games, beating Western
Kentucky in their last outing.
Is an opportunity there for a young team to
step into the conference race in Head Coach Todd
Berry's first year as coach?
"Obviously, there is if you get a win," Berry
said. "But right now I don't know how good we
The Warhawks, who lost their first two games
of the season, including their conference opener
at Arkansas State, have pulled out
fourth-quarter wins in each of their last two
Sun Belt games. They were down 24-7
entering the fourth quarter at Western Kentucky
in their last outing but outscored the
Hilltoppers 28-6 over the final 15 minutes for
the 35-30 win. They scored the decisive
touchdown with less than three minutes left in
the game in their 20-17 win over Florida
"I don't know that we're a good football team
yet," Berry said when pressed for more reasons
behind the success. "We have some talented
players, but I don't think we're any more
talented more than anyone else in the league per
se. But I think more than anything else
the team is just playing with a lot of emotion
and a lot of heart. They won't quit."
Of course, the big tests are coming.
After taking on Middle Tennessee, the
preseason league favorite, the Warhawks, 3-3
overall, are host to defending champion Troy on
Oct. 30. Then comes a trip to FIU, which has
gotten off to a 2-0 start in Sun Belt play.
If turnovers can be a determining
factor in a game (and they often are), it's
going to be difficult to find an edge for either
ULM or Middle Tennessee in their meeting. Both
are on the minus-side in turnover margin for the
year. ULM has given up the football 13 times
(seven fumbles, six interceptions) and gained
only nine turnovers. The Warhawks have four
fumble recoveries, five interceptions and are
minus-5 on the year. Middle Tennessee is
minus-13 with only six takeways (four fumble
recoveries, two interceptions) and 19 giveaways
(eight lost fumbles, 11 interceptions).
Pass protection may be an issue for
the Warhawks against Middle Tennessee. The Blue
Raiders have 14 sacks in the last four games
between the two and hold a 27-14 advantage in
the series overall.
Fans who like to go home early
should take note: The team that scores first has
won all but one of the meetings between ULM and
Middle Tennessee. But don't be too sure. That
one exception came last year.
Series History: Middle Tennessee
leads Louisiana-Monroe 8-2 (last meeting, 2009,
38-19 Middle Tennessee).
Scouting The Offense: ULM is in
triple digits in rushing per game, but barely.
The Warhawks are averaging 100.3 yards per game
with most of that coming from QB
Kolton Browning. TBs
Frank Goodin and
Jyruss Edwards have combined for less than
50 yards a game. WR
Luther Ambrose is the leading receiver with
28 catches for 356 yards.
Scouting The Defense: ULM has faced
two of the most prolific offenses in Auburn (No.
9) and Arkansas (No. 10), so it's not surprising
the Warhawks find themselves giving up an
average of nearly 395 yards per game. The
Warhawks do have 14 sacks, which ties them for
third in the conference with their next
opponent, Middle Tennessee. DE
Ken Dorsey (3.0) leads in sacks.
Quote To Note:
"This team continues
to show a lot of heart. It
doesn't have any quit in it."
-Coach Todd Berry on his Warhawks, who
have had fourth-quarter comebacks for their
three wins.
This Week's Game: ULM at Middle
Tennessee, Oct. 24-The Warhawks have lost the
last four meetings in the series since winning a
34-31 decision in Murfreesboro in 2005. The
Warhawks are 2-1 in the Sun Belt Conference and
need a victory over the Blue Raiders, who are
1-1, to remain in conference contention. Middle
Tennessee has struggled to a 2-4 record, but two
of the losses (Minnesota and Memphis by
identical 24-17 scores) came while QB
Dwight Dasher was serving a suspension. The
Raiders' last two losses were to Troy and
Georgia Tech.
Keys To The Game: Contain Dasher.
Dasher has had a frustrating season to date,
starting off serving an NCAA-mandated four-game
suspension, and would like nothing better than
to have a breakout game. The Warhawks need to
get something out of their ground game to keep
Middle Tennessee's offense off the field.
Players To Watch:
Jason Edwards-Edwards leads ULM in tackles
and is sixth in the league with an average of
8.2 stops per game. He looks to play a key role
in stopping Middle Tennessee's running game,
which is producing 159.0 yards per game.
QB Kolton Browning-A redshirt freshman,
Browning has thrown for more than 200 yards in
five consecutive games. He also leads the
Warhawks in rushing with 230 yards on 88
carries, about half of them designed runs.
Robert Nelson-Nelson was named the Sun
Belt's Defensive Player of the Week after
returning an interception 55 yards for the
clinching touchdown in the win over Western
Kentucky. It was his first interception of the
year. Nelson is third on the team in tackles
with 35, including a sack. He also has recovered
a fumble.
Roster Report:
QB Kolton Browning has thrown for
more yards through six games (1,283) than any
ULM quarterback since Robert Cobb in 1993. Cobb
threw for a school record 3,008 yards that year.
To get to that, Browning would have to average
287.7 yards per game over the final six
regular-season games. Cobb set his record in an
11-game season.
RB Frank Goodin is 716 yards away
from establishing a school rushing record, and
it doesn't appear he will get there. Goodin has
2,663 yards in his career but has only 158
halfway through this season. Goodin's
predecessor, Calvin Dawson, holds the record at
3,378 yards.