The 2009 ULM Warhawks got off to a great conference start with a 27-25 road victory over the Florida Atlantic Owls Saturday afternoon at Lockhart Stadium. Ironically it would another Lockhart that would have a big hand in ULM's dramatic down to the wire victory.
With under 30 seconds remaining, Lockhart dragged Rusty Smith down at the FAU 19 yard line. Three plays later Smith connected with Chris Bonner for 15 yards to the ULM 49 yard line that would have set up a last second hail mary chance for the Owls. Lockhart however was held on the play backing the Owls back up to their own 25 yard line. A 27 yard pass from Smith to Jason Harmon ended the game as Otis Stamps wrestled him to the ground.
The Warhawks got on the scoreboard first on a Radi Jabour 28 yard field goal. ULM drove 56 yards on 11 plays for the score. ULM also made a point to get big LaGregory Sapp involved in the game plan early as quarterback Trey Revell hit Sapp for 31 yards to start the drive. Sapp had his best game of the season using his big frame to out muscle the smaller Owl defensive backs as he finished with 7 catches for 96 yards.
FAU would storm back on their second possession of the game and go on a 10 play 61 yard drive as Alfred Morris rammed it into the end zone from 4 yards out. The extra point was no good and the Owls led 6-3
A poor kick by FAU's Ross Gornell was fielded by Luther Ambrose at the 23 and returned 15 yards. A five yard offsides penalty by FAU gave the Warhawks a first and 10 at the 43. Trey Revell, who was sharp all day, took advantage and led the Warhawks on a quick 8 play 56 yard drive and capped it with a 7 yard keeper for the score. Revell was a perfect 4/4 for 45 yards on the drive.
After stuffing FAU on their next drive, the Warhawks caught some bad luck as the punt was downed inside the one yard line. On first down Frank Goodin was dragged down in the end zone for the safety cutting the ULM lead to 10-8 and putting the defense right back on the field.
The defense would rise to the occasion again as they forced another three and out for FAU. ULM would take that opportunity and drive the ball 66 yards on 11 plays and take a 17-8 lead when Revell scored his second touchdown of the night, again from 7 yards out. The Warhawks overcame some big miscues on the drive and got a huge break as well. On 2nd and 18 from the FAU 23, Revell hit Sapp for 10 yards to the 10 yard line. One play later he was sacked which sent the field goal unit out. Jabour's kick was true but a roughing the kicker penalty took the points off the board and led to the touchdown.
FAU would respond on their next possession and again pull them to within 2 points of the Warhawks. Facing a 3rd and 9 from the ULM 18, Smith rolled out and found Chris Bonner for the score. The Owls rolled Smith away from defensive sack master Aaron Morgan all night. Morgan finished with four tackles and no sacks.
A bizarre turn of events followed with just 1:25 left in the half. The Warhawks moved the ball out to their own 48 yard line but fumbled with Revell was hit and lost possession of the football. Now the Owls were in buisness but were unable to do anything on the first three downs. Facing a fourth and 10, the Owls made a very questionable decision to go for it.
ULM defended the play well and got the ball back at the 48 with :19 seconds in the half and 2 time outs. Revell would make them pay. A pin point strike to Darrell McNeal for 13 yards was followed by another strike to Sapp for 17 yards. Radi Jabour's 39 yard field goal split the uprights and the Warhawks said thanks for the bonus three points as they took a 20-15 halftime lead.
After a series of punts by both teams to start the second half, FAU looked to get something going when Smith found Bonner for a 18 yard pass play but James Truxillo never gave up on the play and punched the ball out where it was recovered by Nate Brown at the ULM 36.
ULM would only run three plays as they were forced to punt on 4th and inches from their own 45.
With the defense tired, FAU took advantage and kept the ball for the next 4:14 driving 77 yards on 11 plays. Mixing in the no huddle Smith took the Owls down to the ULM 16 where the drive stalled. Ross Gornell's 33 yard field goal was good and the Warhawks lead was cut to 2 at 20-18.
The Warhawks would start their next possession at the 34 yard line just into the 4th quarter. ULM would make quick work of the FAU defense as they only faced a second down two times on the drive as they carved their way down the field. Frank Goodin capped the drive with a nice 14 yard touchdown scamper that gave ULM a 27-18 lead. Goodin carried the ball 4 times for 31 yards on the drive. Revell was also 3/3 on the drive for 38 yards and had a big completion for 19 yards to Tim Taylor.
After back to back punts by both teams FAU took over down 9 with 6:22 left in the contest. Rusty Smith looked unstoppable and he was as he hit 8/10 passes on the drive included 5 in a row with the last one a 5 yard strike to Darian Williams for the score. The touchdown came on a 4th and two at the ULM 5 yard line. It was another gutsy call that this time worked out for the Owls.
Taking another huge risk, FAU elected to kick the onsides kick but jolly on the spot was James Truxillo as he added to his huge night with the recovery. ULM had a chance to run the clock out on their next possession but could not pick up a 3rd and 1 from the Florida-Atlantic 36 yard line and opted to punt. The gamble was a good one as Scott Love pinned the Owls inside the 10 yard line and out of bounds at the 6 yard line. That would set up Lockhart's late heroics.
With the win ULM (2-2 1-0) will return home for a big contest against Florida International(0-3) next weekend at 3PM.
Trey Revell passed for 207 yards on a career high 18 completions and rushed for 48 yards and two scores.
Frank Goodin finished with 71 yards on 18 carries but was nicked up late and did not play on the final ULM drive. Goodin also moved into 6th place on the ULM rushing list.
James Truxillo led all Warhawks with 9 tackles and a forced fumble. He also recovered an onside kick.
In SBC play the Warhawks are 6-0 in the state of Florida.