ULM soars past Lions in dramatic fashion

The Warhawks came out in their 2018 season opener ready to secure their first win while putting on a show for their home fans, they did just that.
As time expired Thursday night in Malone Stadium, junior wide receiver RJ Turner made a game-sealing block on a 37-yard field goal attempt to clinch the 34-31 lead over Southeastern Louisiana for the win.
Caleb Evans had a big number game, completing 35 of 53 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns including a huge rushing touchdown in the closing minutes of the game.
ULM looked hot from the opening kick off. Rumbling down the field on 13 plays for 77 yards, senior running back Derrick Gore punched into the end zone on a 2-yard rush to put the Warhawks on the board first. After senior kicker, Craig Ford nailed the extra point the Warhawks were up seven.
The lead didn’t last too long though as the Lions answered back right away. An interesting duo quarterback game plan from Southeastern seemed to confuse the Warhawks at first as the Lions made their way down the field smoothly. 74-yards on ten plays was all they needed to tie the game back up, 7-7.
ULM looked to bounce back and stay hot as they took the field for their second drive. However, the atmosphere in Malone Stadium was suddenly shifted when an interception by SLU defensive back, Ferlando Jordan, was returned 42-yards all the way down to ULM’s own 18-yard line. After the Warhawks managed to hit SLU for a loss of 2 yards on the first play of the drive, they waited no more time on the opportunity to take the lead. Two laser passes for five and 15 yards gave the Lions their first lead to end the first quarter, 7-14.
Things looked like they were slowing down in the second after an exciting first quarter performance from both teams. The Warhawks managed to tack on three more points on a 22 yard- field goal attempt to end a long 17 play drive.
Shutting down SLU on the next drive, the Warhawks got the ball back ready to retake the lead. An amazing 65-yard drive ending in an even better Evans to Marcus Green bullet in the back of the end-zone gave them their second touchdown of the game. After Ford missed the extra point, ULM found themselves on top, 16-14.
But, like before, SLU wouldn’t give the Warhawks a break. The quarterback completed a 70-yard drive on three passes including a 59 yarder to give them the lead right back, 21-16. The back and forth battle seemed to die down as the Warhawks defense kicked into high gear to hold the Lions scoreless until the fourth quarter.
In the meantime, ULM’s offense kept things rolling. A huge 79-yard touchdown pass to Green gave the Warhawks the lead once again at the beginning of the third quarter. And although he missed one in the quarter, Ford managed to cap off the third with a 28-yard field goal to give the Warhawks a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter. SLU wasn’t ready to give up.
They came out quick putting up a field goal in 5 plays to close the gap, 26-24 A struggle to regain a comfortable lead for ULM wouldn’t happen for the remainder of the game. In fact, midway through the fourth SLU completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to give them the lead, 26-31.
The Warhawks knew they couldn’t and wouldn’t go down like that though. With two minutes left on the clock, ULM had a clutch drive ending in a quarterback keeper by Evans was good enough to secure the lead that would win them the game.
A nail-biting drive by SLU in the final 37 seconds of the game was their final chance to send the game into overtime. As the special teams lined up with three seconds to take the feild goal the stadium fell silent. The kick went up but didn’t go far as the ball was blocked by Turner to end it and pick up their first win on the season, making their record 1-0.
The Warhawks will look to keep the hot play alive Saturday, Sept. 8, as they hit the road to face Southern Miss in their first away game of the season. The game is set to kick-off a 6 p.m.