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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Murphy wows in debut, turnovers inhibit offense

ULM Athletics

Sun Belt Conference play continues to torment ULM as the Warhawks lost 38-28 to Georgia Southern.

True freshman quarterback Blake Murphy shocked those watching the game with his inclusion, completing a majority of the combined 25 passes on 46 attempts for 404 passing yards between himself and his veteran counterpart, Jiya Wright. 

Despite not starting over Wright, the coaching staff seemed set on spotlighting Murphy. 

Head coach Terry Bowden said that Murphy’s inclusion wasn’t out of nowhere, and that his talents are as much a necessity as Wright’s. 

“We’ve been trying to experiment and decided we’d give Blake Murphy a shot,” Bowden said. “Just take each game one at a time. We may be somewhat of a two-quarterback system from here on out.”

Murphy led a desperate offense and accompanied a turnover-hungry defense through a dramatic second half. Within the last seven minutes of regulation, ULM’s defense recovered a fumble and returned it nine yards to end up at the Georgia Southern 20. Hunter Smith leapt over a tackler as he went all 20 yards to the end zone to close the gap. A successful 2-point conversion brought ULM to just a 31-28 deficit.

An interception by David Godsey Jr. with 2:30 left on the clock made a ULM comeback seem possible, but Murphy gave the ball right back to the Eagles for a pick six. 

Failing to convert later on fourth down, ULM conceded the game as time expired.

The turnover battle that lasted all the way until the final minute of regulation poetically began within the first minute of play as ULM (2-5; 0-4 Sun Belt Conference) stunned the home crowd with a fumble recovery during the second play of the Eagles’ opening drive.

 After going 52 yards on five plays, Wright found Tyrone Howell in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown to capitalize off the turnover.

The Eagles (5-2; 2-1 SBC) retaliated quickly with a 52-yard strike of their own, evening the score 7-7.

After another long drive and a touchdown, the Warhawk offense began to unravel. Within three minutes, the Warhawks turned the ball over three times. Each quarterback fumbled and allowed Georgia Southern to score from inside the red zone. The other turnover was a misplaced deep ball by Wright that set Georgia Southern up for a field goal.

 “The back-to-back-to-back turnovers stretched [the deficit] to where it is now,” Bowden said at halftime. “We’re trying to mix up quarterbacks, but we had two fumbles in the backfield, and that gave them quick scores. The interception gave them a field goal, and that’s the difference in the game right now.”

The Warhawks look for their first conference win of the season next week as they host the Arkansas State Red Wolves for the Homecoming game.

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