ULM defensive coordinator Troy Reffett was an angry man Saturday night. Interviewed on ULM's postgame radio show by host Nick White, Reffett ripped the players collectively for their performance in a 34-20 loss to Arkansas State.
"We got taken to the woodshed," Reffett said. "They just put it on us. I'm not handling that very well."
Arkansas State (1-2, 1-1 in the Sun Belt) assaulted ULM with a balanced attack that produced 474 total yards. Sophomore quarterback completed 20-of-32 passes for 243 yards and a score and ran for another 75 yards and one touchdown.
Against a ULM defense that prides itself on limiting opponents on the ground, the Red Wolves collected 234 rushing yards. ULM held foes under 100 yards rushing seven times in the past 13 games.
"The bottom line on defense is making tackles," Reffett said. "I promise you we missed probably more tackles in this one game than we've missed in multiple games combined. All their big plays resulted from missed tackles. We didn't get the ball thrown down the field like we did last week against Arkansas.
"What they did, they threw the ball short and then they just ran through us."
Arkansas State mounted two 70-yard scoring drives in the first quarter while amassing 180 yards on 24 plays and building a 14-0 lead.
"I was really proud of the way we started," Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts said. "I was really proud of the way we started. It started with kickoff coverage and defense, and the offense came out of the gate well. … really, really fast."
The Red Wolves ran 87 plays, had no turnovers and punted just once. Arkansas State converted 10 of 17 third-down chances and scored on five of six red zone trips. Reffett revealed that ULM's lackluster week of practice seemed to carry over into the first conference game. The Warhawks drew some praise last week after holding Arkansas to seven points in the first half and forcing three turnovers.
"They better re-evaluate who they are," Reffett said. "They better understand that they've got to come out every single day. We've got to coach better and make sure we game plan better and they have to execute better.
Offense awakens: In his second start, redshirt freshman quarterback Kolton Browning produced 350 yards of total offense. It was the most for ULM by one player since Kinsmon Lancaster had 402 against Middle Tennessee in 2007. The total was fifth best for a Warhawk since ULM joined the Sun Belt in 2001.
Browning completed 19-of-32 passes for 267 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. Emerging as a dual-threat quarterback, Browning added 83 yards on 18 runs. The showing was an upgrade for Browning, who completed 7-of-17 passes for 74 yards with one interception and one touchdown against Arkansas.
Home opener: Southeastern Louisiana will visit Malone Stadium on Sept. 25 as ULM plays its first home game of the season. Kickoff is 6 p.m. The Football Championship Series Lions slumped to 1-2 with their 29-28 loss to Lamar on Saturday.
Southeastern squandered a 28-8 lead in the third quarter in a game that produced 879 yards and 51 first downs. Southeastern quarterback Brian Young completed 24-of-35 passes for 301 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his second career start. Wide receiver Kory Theodore caught seven passes for 164 yards and running back Sam Fairley rushed for 98 yards on 23 totes.
Former Neville High School star Mark Newbill returns to Monroe as one of SLU's top players. The senior linebacker led the Lions with 11 tackles in defeat.
Tail feathers: Jason Edwards led the Warhawk defense with 13 total tackles; Cameron Blakes made 10 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. ... ASU improved to 18-14 all-time versus ULM and to 6-4 vs. the Warhawks as Sun Belt foes. The home team has won the game the last six seasons. . … ULM WR Brent Leonard finished with a career-high three catches for 67 yards and scored his first career TD on a reception. … Offensive lineman Justin Roberts (23 games) and cornerback Nate Brown (15 games) saw their consecutive games started streaks end.
Place kicker Radi Jabour (24 games) now is ULM's current leader. Jabour missed a 30-yard FG and had two PATs blocked.
The ULM and Arkansas State sports information departments contributed to this report.