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|ULM closes out season with win|
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- ULM could not have scripted its season finale much differently that what took place on the turf of FAU Stadium Saturday evening. The Warhawks dominated the Owls from start to finish on both sides of the football in a 26-0 victory in what was the final game for Florida Atlantic head coach Howard Schnellenberger.
The ULM defense held Florida Atlantic to just 148 yards of offense in the game, while the Warhawks blistered the Owls for 424 yards. ULM rushed for 231 yards on 52 carries and worked an efficient passing game for 193 yards on 17 completions. The Warhawks tallied 20 first downs in the game to establish a new single-season school record with 263 (12 better than the previous mark).
"Our defense played extremely well," ULM head coach Todd Berry said. "They had their backs to the wall a couple of times and responded. It's been like that all season long. Offensively we were a little bit out of sync. Florida Atlantic has a nice defensive football team and they created some pressures on us. There are some things we have to address on offense, but we ran the ball effectively and made some big plays."
ULM's defense forced five three-and-outs on 11 Florida Atlantic drives as the Warhawks pitched their first shutout since blanking Texas Southern in 2009. It was the first shutout by a ULM defense in a conference game since a 35-0 victory over FIU in 2006. The Warhawks controlled the ball for 36:50 in the contest thanks to the defensive three-and-outs and converting on 12-of-18 third-down attempts on offense.
Kolton Browning finished the game 16-of-24 for 183 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air and rushed for another 52 yards on 16 carries to lead the Warhawks (4-8, 3-5 Sun Belt). Browning set the ULM single-season records for completions (244) and plays (554) in the game and came up just 40 yards shy of setting the single-season record for total offense; Browning's 2,926 yards are the third most in school history and 11 yards shy of his total from last season.
"We really wanted to send the seniors out with a win, because they deserved a better season," Browning said. "We came out with the mentality tonight that we wanted to come out and win this game to not only send everyone out with a win, but to also show what we are capable of next year."
Jyruss Edwards rushed for 94 yards on 13 carries and a pair of first-half touchdowns to lead the Warhawk rushing attack. His 11 rushing touchdowns on the season are tied for the fifth most in a single-season in ULM history. Edwards broke through the FAU defense for a 67-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to put the Warhawks up 12-0; the play was the longest of the season for the Warhawks.
Luther Ambrose put the Warhawks on the board with a 12-yard touchdown catch -- the 12th of his career -- late in the first quarter. Justin Manton missed his first extra-point of the season and the Warhawks led 6-0. The touchdown pass was the 30th of Browning's career to move him past Stan Humphries and Robert Cobb for sixth place in ULM history.
Edwards pushed the ULM lead out to 19-0 with just under four minutes remaining in the half with a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal.
The Owls (1-11, 0-8) had a couple of scoring opportunities in the first half, but the Warhawk defense forced a pair of turnovers -- both interceptions by Isaiah Newsome -- to keep the shutout intact. Newsome's multiple interceptions were the first by a Warhawk since Greg James picked off three Riley Dodge passes at North Texas in 2009.
Newsome led the Warhawks with seven tackles and a sack, while Ken Dorsey added 3.0 tackles for loss in his final game in a ULM uniform.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Browning put the lone points of the second half on the board with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Steed with 8:19 to play in the game. Steed's first career touchdown reception capped a 16-play drive that ate up over six minutes off the clock.
Brent Leonard moved into third place on the ULM single-season receptions list after hauling in three passes for 57 yards on Saturday. Mitchell Bailey added a career-best 70 yards on 15 carries.
ULM - Ambrose 12-yard pass from Browning (Manton kick missed), 2:04, 1st 0-6
ULM - Edwards 67-yard run (Manton kick missed), 10:06, 2nd 0-12
ULM - Edwards 1-yard run (Manton kick), 3:57, 2nd 0-19
ULM - Steed 1-yard pass from Browning (Manton kick), 8:19, 4th 0-26
ULM Game Notes
-Permanent captains Jyruss Edwards, Ken Dorsey and Luther Ambrose represented ULM in the opening coin toss.
-Florida Atlantic won the toss and chose to defer possession until the second half.
-Isaiah Newsome had a career-high two interceptions, giving him three for his career. It is the most a single player has had in a game since Greg James in 2009 against North Texas, who had three.
-The Warhawks have forced a turnover in 31-of-36 under defensive coordinator Troy Reffett; they have also forced a turnover in 10-of-12 games this season.
-Brent Leonard had three catches for 57 yards, moving him into a solo third place for single-season receptions with 69.
-Kolton Browning's 11-yard touchdown pass to Luther Ambrose moved him into a solo sixth place for career touchdown passes with 30 total.
-With 183 passing yards Browning moved into the eighth place all-time for total single-season passing yards with 483.
-The sophomore quarterback also had 235 yards of total offense to take over third place all-time for single-season total offense with 2,926 yards. Browning finished just 11yards shy of his season total of 2,937 last season and 39 shy of the all-time record.
-Edwards' 67-yard touchdown run was the longest play of the season for ULM. It was also the longest run of his career.
-ULM's first down at the 7:00 mark of the 2nd quarter gave it 252 first downs for the season which broke the school record. The previous record of 251 was set in 2007.
-Mitchell Bailey's 42-yard reception which eventually allowed the Warhawks to score their third touchdown of the game was the longest of his career, surpassing his 16-yard catch against Middle Tennessee.
-Edwards' two rushing touchdowns tied him at fifth place for single-season rushing touchdowns with 11. His 15 career rushing touchdowns also moves into ninth place all-time for ULM.
-Browning's 32 plays set ULM's single-season plays record with 554 on the year. He broke his own record, which he set during his freshman campaign last season with 549.
-Bailey's 70 yards rushing is the most of his career. He did so on 15 carries, which was one shy of tying his career-high.
-Kevin Steed's 1-yard touchdown reception was the first of his career.
-Browning's final completion of the game set the ULM record for single-season completions at 244 total. It broke the previous record of 243 by Doug Pederson, which stood for 22 years after being set in 1989.
-Browning's 16 completions also moved him into fifth place in ULM history for career completions with 478.
-The 26-0 shutout against Florida Atlantic is ULM's first since the 2009 season when it blanked Texas Southern.
(Report courtesy ulmwarhawks.com)