Warhawks play big, dream big, come up short against Seminoles


The ULM Warhawks’ trip to Florida State University ended with the team’s first loss of the season 45-44 against the Seminoles in a heartbreaking overtime.
In one of college football’s most entertaining games of the year, the Warhawks pushed Florida State to their limits in front of a Florida crowd just a little under 53,000.
The team lost in overtime after sophomore kicker Jacob Meeks missed an extra point.
The Warhawks traveled to Florida already at a disadvantage. Junior defensive end Kerry Starks was left at home after allegedly spitting on a Grambling State University player during both teams’ season opener.
“I’m really proud of our players. We were down 21-0 in this kind of environment against these types of players. I thought Corey Straughter’s interception return for the touchdown kind of turned the game,” said Matt Viator, ULM head football coach.
The Seminoles and Warhawks played each other two previous times before Saturday’s encounter. Both games were lost by the Warhawks. In their last game, the Warhawks fell 42-10 against FSU. That was the last and only time ULM scored against Florida before Saturday’s game.
ULM struggled through the first quarter before showing signs of life in the second. They were down 21-0 before senior quarterback Caleb Evans willed his team down the field. After two pass interference calls he brought his team near the Seminoles’ endzone. An incomplete pass thrown on fourth down ended the Warhawks best chance at scoring up to that point.
Later, Evans threw a 36 yard pass to junior tight end Josh Pederson halfway through the second quarter to put the Warhawks on the board. The extra point was good and ULM seemed to barely pose a threat to the Seminoles.
“I kept telling Meeks keep his head up because if we scored more in the first half we wouldn’t have come up on that position,” Evans said.
What little resistance the Warhawks were putting up against the Seminoles was long depleted by the start of the second half.
A forced fumble on red shirt senior wide receiver Markis McCray seemed like it’d be the end of the Warhawks but then came junior cornerback Corey Straughter.
Straughter intercepted the ball and ran it in for a 57 yard touchdown a little after the forced fumble. The game was on and the Warhawks immediately made another big play by recovering a fumble.
A 10 yard run in by Evans brought the game even closer and Warhawk fans in attendance were on the edge of their seats.
“The sky’s the limit for us. As a team we can compete with anybody,” Straughter said.
The defense’s second half performance was solid against a tough Florida offense. Junior safety Tyler Glass had nine tackles. Redshirt senior linebacker Chase Day had eight tackles.
A Seminoles’ touchdown in the fourth couldn’t extinguish the fire and the Warhawks kept marching up the field.
A touchdown by redshirt senior wide receiver Xavier Brown kept the game close.
Another interception by the Warhawks followed by a touchdown by Josh Johnson gave ULM the lead for the first time in the game.
The teams went into overtime and the Warhawks lost after missing the extra point.
The Warhawks next play at Iowa State on Sept. 21 before returning home Sept. 28 for their Sun Belt conference opener against South Alabama. Kickoff for that game is slated for 6 p.m.