Despite the 28-27 loss, ULM quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster played near flawless. The senior from Shreveport, La completed 23/39 (59%) passes for 270 yards, 2 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Lancaster also had at least 5 balls that were dropped that would have pushed his completion percentage up to 72%. Kinsmon finished the day with an impressive 134.0 quarterback passer rating.
The only two blemishes on his performance was missing an open Anthony McCall For six points in the first half and missing a wide open Darrell McNeal in the second half. Give Kinsmon credit though, he threw the ball where his guy could catch it or no one else. There was some contact as well on McNeal that slowed him down a step. ULM fans are seeing a mature Lancaster who is calm and cool under center leading his team into battle on Saturdays.
Running Back: C+
For the second week in a row, one of ULM's top offensive threats did not see the Playing field. Starting running back Frank Goodin had surgery on his knee earlier In the week and was unable to go Saturday night. The load fell onto juco transfer running back Rodney Lovett. Rodney had a decent night grinding out 66 yards on 17 carries (3.9 avg) but got no other help. ULM wide out Darrell McNeal carried the ball four times for 17 yards and no other back touched the ball more than 2 times.
The big question coming into the 2008 season on Goodin was can he be a feature back and carry the load. If his injury is a sign of things to come, the Warhawks might be forced to take the redshirt off Immokalee HS standout running back Carl Elie. True freshman Luther Ambrose was seen on kick returns but was not a factor in the ULM offensive game plan.
Wide Receiver: A
The Warhawks are very blessed to have some very young talented receivers step up and play big time college football. Red shirt freshman Anthony McCall is poised for a brilliant season and the same can be said for J.J. McCoy. McCoy has returned to the ULM lineup after missing all of 2007 and most of 2006 after multiple injuries forced him to the sideline.
Together the duo caught 11 passes for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. McCoy set the ULM offense up early when he took an inside bubble screen and raced to the Arkansas 20 yard line. Later in that drive, McCall would catch and score the Warhawks first offensive touchdown of 2008. Junior Darrell McNeal sat out the first half finishing up a suspension to start the season and finished with 3 catches for 20 yards. TE Zeek Zacharie was solid as usual hauling in 4 passes for 46 yards but did drop 2 touchdowns in the end zone.
McCoy and McCall - we need a nickname...hmmmmm
Offensive Line: B-
Big improvement from the Auburn game to the Arkansas game. What a difference a week makes for the ULM offensive line. Then again, most college football programs don't have a Steve Farmer coaching them up.
The offensive line was solid protecting quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster allowing him time to locate his receivers down field. There were some early running lanes but those closed tight in the red zone when the Warhawks tried to pound it in. Stuffed in the first half, the Warhawks had to throw the ball in from one yard out to score and had to settle for a field goal the next time after the run game went backwards.
The big uglies did show a mean streak in the second half when they opened a hole for burly back Gary Frazier who pounded it in from one yard out. Still a work in progress the offensive line did show big improvements in week 2.
A week after holding the Auburn Tigers to a mere 85 pass yards the Warhawks were blistered for 323 yards by Hog quarterback Casey Dick. Casey hit on 22/34 passes in the process tossing 2 touchdowns. Dick should have had a couple of picks on his resume but Warhawk defenders were unable get a hold on the ball.
Things were not going the Hogs way in the first half and the Warhawks defense got after Casey, sacking him four times and disrupting any kind of passing game. It would be a different story in the second half and Casey was able to sit in the pocket and wait for his receivers to get open and deliver the ball on time.
The Hogs also got a big boost when starting running back Michael Smith returned to the line up. The scat back ran for 157 yards on 22 carries and 2 touchdowns. All total the ULM defense was hit for 506 total offensive yards with the bulk of that coming in the second half.
The ULM defense showed signs of brilliance at times but has yet to put a complete game together. Losing Troy Giddens a week ago and then bandit James Truxillo Saturday night also put the defense in a bind. On the flip side red shirt freshman Nate Brown had career night registering 12 tackles and one sack. Linebacker Josh Thomas has been very active the first two games as well as Troy Evans.
Areas to focus on: Forcing turnovers and getting off the field on 3rd downs.
Special Teams: B+
Let's not focus on the missed 45 yard field goal at the end of the game. Pressure? Sure but the young man would have never faced it if the offense had executed on third down. Jeremy Gener did hit on both of his previous field goal attempts and banged in all three extra points.
His kickoffs were deep as well recording two touch backs with the rest landing inside the five yard line.
ULM did a much better job on kick coverage allowing the Hogs just one yard on punt returns. ULM's Anthony McCall did more than just catch touchdowns as he blocked a would be Hog punt that set up the Warhawks inside the Arkansas 30 yard line and led to a field goal.
Red shirt freshman Robert Williams almost took a kickoff to the house returning it 47 yards before being tripped up by Arkansas.
Yes this one hurt and it's one that got away but it's done and over with. The Warhawks must focus on the remainder of the season and take care of business this Saturday night against Alabama A&M. Kickoff is set for 6PM.