In a Sun Belt contest tied 3-3 at halftime, where ULM trailed 10-3 in the third period, the Warhawks scored 35 points unanswered and outgained the Trojans with 523 yards to 126.
"When you play hard and you play well, good things will happen for you – eventually," ULM coach Todd Berry said in his post game comments.
"We've played hard throughout the whole season. We've played against some good people and then there's other times we haven't played quite as smart. We knew going into this game it was going to be a four-quarter game. I think we were prepared for that. But it was nice to see our players really kind of step on the pedal a little bit when the momentum started going our way."
Quarterback Kolton Browning had his breakout game of the season by completing 23-of-31 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Browning hit nine different receivers but his favorite target was Tavarese Maye with seven catches for 161 yards and a score.
The offensive total surpassed the 482-yard eruption at FIU (Nov. 6, 2010) as the most in the Berry era. The defensive effort was equally impressive and perhaps even more consistent. ULM limited Troy to minus-14 yards rushing and nine first downs. ULM outgained Troy 325-6 in the second half.
Before the ULM offense caught fire in the first half, the Warhawks kept Troy out of the end zone with a valiant goal line stand that forced a turnover on downs at the 1. The stand came after ULM lost a punt return fumble at the Troy 19.
"That goal line stand did a lot for us as far as our confidence and just kind of changing the game a little bit," ULM defensive coordinator Troy Reffett said. "I think they might have started to doubt themselves a little bit and not knowing what they could do against us."
ULM also registered interceptions by Cameron Blakes and Isaiah Newsome and four sacks (Blakes, R.J. Young, Kentarius Caldwell (1.5) and Jordan Landry (.5). ULM has five interceptions in the last two games after none in the previous two contests.
"The defense played well, the offense played well," ULM defensive end Ken Dorsey said in his post game radio interview. "To hold a team like Troy to 10 points is a great accomplishment. I think everybody on the team played great today." The victory was ULM's second in a row over Troy.
Last year the Warhawks limited Troy to 285 yards, picked off two passes and made two sacks in a 28-14 homecoming win. "Normally in our business, in this game when you don't win, you got outcoached and outplayed," Troy coach Larry Blakeney said in comments posted to the school's official Web site." We certainly got some work to do, it's pretty obvious. I didn't think we played very well at all on offense."
Explosive: Big plays on offense are an important part of ULM's arsenal. Berry said last week the Warhawks missed on several in the loss to Arkansas State that could have made a difference in the outcome.
ULM recorded five offensive plays of 20 or more yards at Troy including a 57-yard run by Donald, Browning passes of 21, 49 and 33 yards to Maye and a 22-yard pass to Je'Ron Hamm. Four of the big plays came on scoring drives by ULM.
Donald's 57-yard run at the end of the third quarter topped his 55-yard touchdown run against Grambling State as the longest of his career and pushed him past 100 yards in a game for the second time this season. Maye's big plays led to a career-high in yards.
The kicking game: Lost in the final blowout were several unsettling plays on special teams. ULM was twice charged with a lost fumble on punt returns when officials said a Warhawk touched the ball. Luther Ambrose, who is credited with one of the punt return fumbles, rebounded with a redemptive 37-yard kickoff return to the ULM 42 early in the third period. The Warhawks used the field position to mount their first touchdown drive but then botched an extra point attempt to pull within 10-9.
The unit did come up with another big play to help even the ledger though. After ULM scored the go-ahead touchdown to lead 15-10, Mitch Bailey forced a fumble on a kickoff that Brandon Hardy recovered at the Troy 17. Two plays later, the Warhawks added another touchdown to go up 22-10.
Home cooked: Larry Blakeney's home record since 1991 fell to 91-13-1 with the loss to ULM. The largest home losses under Blakeney (by 20 or more points) before ULM's victory were 27-7 to UAB in 2005 and 23-3 against McNeese State in 1998. The last home loss for the Trojans by more than 20 points under Blakeney was 38-3 to Jacksonville State in 1989.
Quote to note I: "Coach Reffett is supposed to dance for us on the bus (ride home from Troy) so it's going to be a sweet victory." – ULM's Ken Dorsey.
Quote to note II: "There were certainly a lot of doubters here recently and I understand that. But we kept working they kept getting better. We certainly had some mistakes that we've got to take care of, but in terms of our heart and our willingness to go out and play, I'm really proud of these guys." – ULM's Berry.
Up next: ULM (2-4, 1-1) travels to North Texas (2-5, 1-2) for its third conference game on Oct. 22. Kickoff at UNT's new Apogee Stadium is 6 p.m. UNT lost 30-10 at Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
Tail feathers: An injury question mark going in, Nate Brown appeared in his 43rd career game, tops on the team. … ULM has attempted nine fourth-down conversions in its last three games and 14 on the season. … Maye has at least one catch in all 18 career games played. …Browning passed Robert Cobb, Andre Vige, Wendal Lowrey and Andy Chance for seventh place all-time in ULM career passing yards (3,595). Browning moved into seventh place in yards of total offense (4,111), a tie for eighth in pass attempts (562) and a tie for eighth on the career passing touchdowns list (24). . … Ambrose passed Tag Rome and LaGregory Sapp for eighth place in career receptions (118). …Bailey, the transfer running back from Arkansas, made his first receiving touchdown at ULM on a 4th-and-1 catch in the fourth quarter. … Colby Harper recorded his first career touchdown on a 13-yard reception in the third quarter. … Newsome's INT was his first. .. ULM's safety off a bungled punt snap was the team's first since Oct. 9, 2010 (Florida Atlantic). It was the first safety Troy allowed since Nov. 1, 2008 at ULM.