Warhawks run away from Georgia State in home win


Miles Jordan, [email protected]

Modern football is all about spreading out the defense and passing the ball down the field. In ULM’s 45-31 victory over Georgia State, nothing could be less true.
The Sun Belt foes combined for 1,126 yards of total offense, 713 of which came by way of the running game.
ULM will look to carry over the dominant running game against Georgia Southern in Statesboro.
The leader for the Warhawks was Josh Johnson who finished with 20 carries for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
Johnson’s strong performance propelled him beyond 1,000 yards for the season becoming the first Warhawk to do so since Frank Goodin in 2009.
“Caleb and I were both clicking,” Johnson said. “I don’t know how many yards he had but it was over 100.”
Quarterback Caleb Evans would not be outdone on the day, totaling over 100 rushing yards as well to go along with 291 passing yards and three passing touchdowns for over 400 yards of total offense.
Markis McCray would be Evans’s main recipient on the day, totaling seven catches and two touchdowns, including the final two scores of the day.
In what is becoming a weekly occurrence, Evans moved higher in the Warhawks record book becoming the second all-time passing yards leader, surpassing Steven Jyles.
The dominant games by Evans and Johnson would all be for not if the defense had not stepped up when it mattered.
The defense had been gearing up for this game.
“I felt like we owed them,” nose tackle Larance Shaw said. “I looked at the schedule this whole year and that was the one game we had to get back because last year they rolled over us.”
With 7:40 left in the fourth quarter, Georgia State was driving down the field down 38-31 when free safety Tyler Glass forced a fumble recovered by Traveion Webster.
Glass and fellow safety Austin Hawley had strong games in the tackle department totaling 22 combined tackles.
While that turnover did not amount to points for the Warhawks it marked a change in the defense who would shutout the Panthers for the rest of the game.
“I believe the biggest key was we had a couple stops on defense in the second half,” head coach Matt Viator said. “The fumble was big and obviously stopping them on the two fourth downs were critical.”
The two fourth down stops happened back-to-back after the forced fumble.
“We had to get them behind the sticks and force them to do something else and we were able to do that enough in the second half,” Viator said. “I’m proud of the players after a tough loss last week and the energy we came out with.”
Both times the Warhawks forced a Panther incompletion, something ULM was good at all day. As Dan Ellington and Cornelious Brown only completed 13-28 passing attempts for only 122 yards.
The Warhawks surpassed those numbers in the first half.
McCray would not be the only Warhawk receiver to have a successful night, as a trio of Warhawks had over 40 yards receiving including Zach Jackson and Josh Pederson each had a reception of over 40 yards.