ULM defeats Grambling State at home in season opener

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ULM defeats Grambling State at home in season opener

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The ULM Warhawks football team started their 2019 campaign by defeating the Grambling State Tigers, 31-9 Saturday night during both teams’ season opener.

On a hot Saturday afternoon, fans of both teams flocked to Malone Stadium to witness the latest chapter of another one of ULM’s I-20 rivals. According to the athletics department, Saturday’s game attendance was 28,327. That makes it the fourth largest attendance for a ULM home game.

The Warhawks lead the Grambling State Tigers in their all-time series 4-0 with a combined score of 142-40.

“I thought we did some good things. Josh Johnson coming out and playing the game he did today I thought our offensive line after a while kind of took over,” said Matt Viator, the Warhawks head coach.

ULM, who finished last season with a record of 6-6, were the first to finally draw blood after both teams were unable to convert their first attempts at a field goal. ULM scored late in the first quarter.

ULM’s initial score came via a 51-yard touchdown run courtesy of Josh Johnson, a junior running back. A few minutes later Grambling scored themselves off a 15-yard touchdown pass, but the Tigers’ kicker missed the extra point and thus the first quarter ended with ULM up one.

“I was looking up at the video board and I was like I can’t get caught,” Johnson said.

Johnson rushed for 173 yards. And started the fourth quarter with a 37-yard touchdown run. He ended with two touchdowns.

Xavier Brown, a fifth-year senior running back, scored off a 16-yard touchdown pass courtesy of senior quarterback, Caleb Evans at the start of the second quarter.

The Warhawk quarterback threw an interception mid-way through the second quarter and then senior ULM linebacker, Chase Day caught one himself. Other than one interception. Evans had a solid game completing 19 out of 25 passes attempted.

The Warhawks’ offense struggled to find their footing first half but they were supported by a solid defensive line who were constant throughout the game. The offense regained their footing during the second half and found themselves in the end zone just as often as the first. Although the offense continued to struggle, the Warhawks were able to score each quarter.

ULM’s defense were able to hold Grambling at bay for most of the game. Grambling wasn’t allowed to score in the second half of the game thanks to a stellar performance by the defense. Senior linebacker Chase Day had 12 tackles while fifth-year linebacker, Cortez Sisco Jr. had nine tackles before being disqualified early in the third quarter for unsportsmanlike conduct. Fifth year senior safety Nick Ingram had eight tackles.

“Coach put us in the right positions so we just had to make the plays,” Day said.

Sophomore kicker, Jacob Meeks scored one field goal out of two attempted.

With Saturday’s victory the Warhawks are now 10-0 against current members of the Southwest Athletic Conference. And they start their season 1-0 for the second consecutive year under head coach Matt Viator.

Viator and his team travel next to Tallahassee, Florida where they will face the Florida State University Seminoles on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.