Defenses scorched in offensive shootout

Cameron Jett

Tyrone Howell has emerged as the most dangerous wide receiver on the Warhawks’ roster, but his 244 yards receiving and three touchdowns weren’t enough to leave Handcock Whitney Stadium with their third win of the season. 

While Howell had the most yards receiving by a ULM wide receiver since 1995 in Saturday’s 41-34 loss to the Jaguars, the defense permitted South Alabama quarterback Carter Bradley to set a new school record of 420 yards passing. The Jaguars amassed nearly 200 yards rushing to complement their aerial attack.  

Three South Alabama receivers finished the night with over 100 yards receiving.

ULM clung to a three-point lead going into the half, but South Alabama’s offense emerged from the break with a newfound sense of urgency. 

It was the first halftime deficit for the Jaguars this season. South Alabama scored 24 unanswered points and kept ULM off the scoreboard until inside the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

Even after two late scores to bring the game back to a one-possession affair, the defense couldn’t match the offense’s efforts. The mountain was too steep to climb.

“We put them out there with three time-outs and over four minutes left and they did what a good football team does,” ULM head coach Terry Bowden said.

The Jaguars pounced on key first downs and let the clock expire as they were deep in ULM’s red zone.

The offense has grown and shown its lethality over the past few games, but Bowden said his team still has to “hone every phase of our game” after having few answers for South Alabama on defense.

South Alabama took advantage of ULM’s first interception in three games. In the third quarter, quarterback Chandler Rogers targeted his receiver near the sideline and a Jaguar defender deflected the pass into a tip drip to set up the offense on ULM’s 41-yard line. Two plays later, South Alabama scored its fourth touchdown and took a double-digit lead over its homecoming opponent.

Nothing out of the ordinary for a team that has outscored its opponents 62-10 in the third quarter this season.

Howell scored all three of his touchdowns on chunk plays—two of his touchdown receptions were plays eclipsing 75 yards.

The first of his crimes against the South Alabama defense came early in the contest when Rogers connected with Howell on a deep pass on the first play of ULM’s second drive. 75 yards later, Howell crossed into the end zone with South Alabama defenders behind him and six points in his hands. 

Howell’s second explosive score came as ULM attempted to rally in the fourth quarter. What appeared to be nothing more than a short incompletion evolved into a sprint passed defenders and ended as an 83-yard touchdown. 

When Howell “finally got the targets,” he said he needed, he displayed that he’s a headache for any defender that has to cover his route.

Bowden agreed and said, “we’ve always known he had the ability,” to be the playmaker he was on Saturday night. 

The 2-4 Warhawks—still winless on the road in the Bowden era—have their second straight road game of the season this weekend. They have an outing against Army, who took the last meeting over ULM in 2020 37-7.