The ULM Warhawks have their second Top 25 opponent of the season on Saturday as they visit No. 24 Appalachian State at 2:30 p.m. in Boone, N.C.
ASU is 5-0 and coming off a 2018 Sun Belt Conference Championship season. The Mountaineers are riding the third-longest win streak in FBS college football with 11 straight victories.
Here are 3 keys to the game which will be broadcast by KLIP 105.3 FM locally and to a national audience streaming on ESPN+.
1. Getting pressure on the QB
Reigning Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year is quarterback Zac Thomas of ASU. ULM must continue to create turnovers which they have done a good job of against SBC opponents. The pass rush must continue to come through to like it did with five sacks last week at Texas State.
2. Establish the run early
ULM saw the re-emergence of running back Austin Vaughn. Vaughn scored his first touchdown of 2019 last week and if he can add more dimensions to one of the top rushing offenses in the country right now led by ULM running back Josh Johnson then ULM can really wear down some defenses. Johnson currently ranks No. 1 in the conference in yards rushing per game (118.6/ypg).
3. Making some big plays on special teams
The kicking game and punt return have not been a strong suite of the Warhawks through the first six games of the season. If the Warhawks can make some big plays on special teams, it can go a long way towards giving them a chance to win on the road where few people have been able to compete as of late.
The ULM Warhawks rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns (2 by Josh Johnson) in a 24-14 triumph at Texas State on Thursday night in front of a national television audience.
Johnson had the first two scores of the game as ULM built a 14-0 lead early.
Texas State made things interesting in the second half as ULM struggled to move the ball on offense.
The Bobcats hit a 62-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Vitt to Trevis Graham, Jr. to pull within 17-14 with 54 seconds left in the third quarter.
ULM shut the door critical, 13-play drive that took up more than six minutes in the fourth quarter and Austin Vaughn finished it with a short touchdown run.
ULM quarterback Caleb Evans finished the night 18-of-33 for 225 yards and 1 interception.
The ULM defense forced two turnovers and Neville product Corey Straughter picked up another interception.
A big showdown of league leaders comes next Saturday when ULM travels to Appalachian State at 2:30 p.m.
The ULM Warhawks have an opportunity to go 2-0 in Sun Belt Conference play and on national TV as they visit Texas State Thursday at 8:15 p.m. on ESPNU.
One aspect of the game that will get plenty of scrutiny will be the rushing game as ULM features one of the top running backs in the country in Josh Johnson and a very mobile quarterback in senior Caleb Evans.
Texas State and ULM have struggled at times this season to stop the run, and which defense does that could go a long way in setting a tone for the night.
Texas State has given up 223 yards rushing per game, yet Warhawks coach Matt Viator says that stat can be deceptive because of teams such as SMU and Texas A&M that the Bobcats have battled.
“I think if you go back and look at Texas State, and every game counts, but the SMU game really threw the numbers off where it looks like they are subseptible to the run,” ULM coach Matt Viator said. “Because SMU had a really good night running the football and Texas A&M did too. Some of those other games they didn’t give up a whole lot. I kind of look at it this time of year, to be honest with you, at who they played more than the numbers.”
The Bobcat defense gave up only 50 yards to Wyoming and 75 on the ground to Nicholls State, but have surrendered 204 or more rushing yards in each of their other three games including 390 against SMU and 204 in a triple overtime win over Sun Belt foe Georgia State.
ULM also will be looking to stop the big plays in the run game after giving up long touchdown runs each of the past two games. Memphis had runs for touchdowns of 40 and 68 yards last Saturday in a 52-33 win at Malone Stadium.
“We have to eliminate the big plays, the chunk plays,” Viator said. “Hopefully we can do that.”
Do not discount the Warhawks (2-3, 1-0) when running the ball either. Evans has shown ability to get out of the pocket and pick up yards and Johnson has 598 yards and four scores this season. Johnson ranks among the best rushers in the Sun Belt for yards per game.
Special teams looks to play a big role in the game too. ULM had a field goal blocked and a miscommunication caused a punt to be downed deep in Warhawk territory against Memphis starting the drive inside the ULM 10-yard line.
As many know ULM had a strong offensive day but couldn’t slow the Memphis Tiger offense in a 52-33 loss at Malone Stadium.
Memphis used an early, surprise onside kick to steal a possession and wore down the Warhawk defense throughout the day and broke two touchdown runs of 40 yards or more.
ULM quarterback Caleb Evans had another great performance throwing for 286 yards on 23-of-44 passing and two touchdowns.
Josh Johnson rushed for 119 yards and continues to be one of the top running backs in the country and certainly will have a lot of success in the Sun Belt Conference if he can stay healthy. Tight End Josh Pederson caught two touchdowns and had a 33 yard completed pass in the second half with shades of his father, Eagles coach and ULM hall of fame quarterback Doug Pederson.
Now let us look at 3 keys to what happened during another disappointing home loss for ULM.
1. Run defense
ULM has given up big chunks at a time the past two weeks on run defense. Memphis totaled over 500 yards of offense and 286 on the ground. The competition has been fierce but ULM must contain big run plays to get back on track.
2. Special Teams
A surprise Memphis onside kick that the Tigers recovered really put the Warhawks behind the 8-ball early as it began to tire out the defense. ULM later missed a field goal to end the first half that could have closed the gap and gave them big momentum. ULM also had a miscommunication on a late punt return that allowed Memphis to down the ball at the Warhawk 8-yard line.
3. Dropped Passes
Evans had one of his best performances as a Warhawk, but it could have been massive numbers except for four crucial drops by ULM receivers.
A career night by quarterback Caleb Evans and linebacker Cortez Sisco, Jr. spearheaded the ULM Warhawks to a 30-17 win over South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference opener at Malone Stadium.
ULM (2-2,1-0) scored 17 unanswered points after the Jaguars scored on a quarterback Cephus Johnson three-yard run with 7:39 left in the first quarter.
ULM immediately answered with a 4-play, 75-yard drive capped by Evans hitting tight end Josh Pederson on a 20-yard post route in the endzone.
It was part of a 17-of-25 performance by Evans throwing the football for 286 yards and three touchdowns along with no turnovers. It was part of the 18th career game over 200 yards passing for Evans and his second of the 2019 season.
“Offensively, we didn’t have the ball that much,” ULM coach Matt Viator said. “Didn’t get in a great flow, I didn’t think, but made some plays. We did enough offensively for sure.”
Later, kicker Jared Porter made a 22-yard field goal and Markis McCray hauled in a 52-yard touchdown pass from Evans to build a 17-7 halftime lead for the Warhawks.
After an uneventful third quarter, the Warhawk offense found its big play ability as Jonathan Hodoh caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Evans and the senior quarterback scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach.
“Just telling the guys that we are executing, (South Alabama) can’t really stop us, we just didn’t finish our drives,” Evans said of the early misfortunes on offense. “Our defense kept getting us stops, so we have to come through for the defense. They did a good job of getting us stops, getting us the ball back. So, we decided we needed to get some points on the board for the defense.”
Sisco Jr, recorded 13 tackles to tie his career-high in stops for a single game.
The ULM defense was the definition of “bend but don’t break” on Saturday. The unit gave up several big plays, including 263 yards rushing (150 yards to running back Tra Minter) yet Corey Straughter caught an interception in the endzone and the Warhawk defense held the Jaguars to 4-of-16 on third down.
“When (South Alabama) got down in the red zone, we played with a whole lot of intensity,” Viator said. “And you got to kind of play with that type of intensity everywhere. We really rallied down in the red zone. We kind of have to come out and play that way.”
The ULM Warhawk baseball team are hotter than a summer day along the bayou.
ULM followed a shutout of No. 1-seed two nights ago with an 18-5 route of UT-Arlington on Thursday to advance to the 2019 Sun Belt Conference baseball semifinals.
ULM has caught fire in Conway, South Carolina after beating Texas State and the Mavericks on back-to-back nights.
Chad Bell hit his 19th home run of the season as part of an eight run sixth inning. Bell now has tied the single season home run record at ULM with at least two games left to play.
Trent Tingelstad also had a career night with seven RBIs on 4-of-6 at the plate. Ty Barnes was the winning pitcher the ULM.
The Warhawks have outscored two of the better teams in the league 26-5 and ride a three-game winning streak into the Saturday semifinal against an opponent at 11:30 a.m. ULM will play the winner of a Thursday matchup of UT-Arlington versus tournament host Coastal Carolina.
In its most dominant performance of the 2019 season, the ULM Warhawks defeated No. 1-seed Texas State 8-0 on Wednesday in the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament in Conway, S.C.
ULM scored six runs in the second inning and took advantage of just about every mistake the Bobcat defense made.
The Warhawks scored four unearned runs on a pair of pass balls and also two bases loaded walks.
“Our guys did a great job of being patient at the plate,” ULM assistant coach Matt Collins said. “We manufactured runs in different ways and that’s what good teams do.”
Chad Bell saw a 20-game hitting streak snapped but Logan Wurm was 1-for-4 and Joey Jordan went 2-for-2 at the plate.
Starting pitcher Trey Jeans had a second straight masterful performance as he gave up no runs and struck out four in 7.2 innings on the mound.
“(Jeans), I mean what can you say about his start,” Collins said. “What a great job he did. He had a good start (last weekend vs UL-Lafayette) with pounding the fastball, and that’s what he did tonight.”
The Warhawks have now won 4 of their last 6 games and will play UT-Arlington on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with a chance to advance to the semi-finals and have Friday off in Conway.
The ULM Warhawk baseball team earned its first Sun Belt Conference Tournament victory in five years on Tuesday with a 12-7 win over South Alabama.
The Warhawks used 6 runs in the sixth inning to take a commanding lead and never looked back. ULM now advances to the double-elimination portion of the tournament against No. 1-seed Texas State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Conway, South Carolina.
Andrew Beesley led the way with a 2-for-4 night and 2 RBIs. Chad Bell, who is one home run away from setting the single season record at ULM, was 1-for-4 with an RBI and two walks.
Starting pitcher Cole Martin was chased after giving up 5 runs on 9 hits through 4.0 innings. Connor Deeds later pitched 4.0 innings of one run ball to keep the Jaguars off balance.
The next round of the SBC Tournament will air live on 1680 AM.
Streaks were made to be broken. And so it was at Warhawk Field on Thursday as ULM baseball downed UL-Lafayette 6-3 to snap a 25-game losing streak in conference play to the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Former Cajun pitcher Trey Jean, a transfer to ULM, pitched seven great innings and recorded 9 strikeouts for the Warhawks.
Chad Bell carried the big stick again for ULM with a 3-for-4 night and 3 RBIs. Andrew Beesley, Ryan Humeniuk, and Jordan Brendan had RBIs for the Warhawks.
The series will continue at Warhawk field at 6 p.m. Friday and then 2 p.m. Saturday will conclude the series and the regular season for each team.
In Track & Field news, sophomore javelin thrower Cole McKnight recently won his second straight title with a throw of 202-5 in the Sun Belt Outdoor Track & Field Championship in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
In golf, ULM sophomore Jahaanvie Walia was named Sun Belt Women’s Golf Newcomer of the Year.
Walia was Top 12 in four of the nine tournaments she played this season. Walia won the F&M Bank APSU with a 217 and was first women’s golfer at ULM to win an individual tournament since Alison Knowles in 2014.
The ULM baseball team fell 5-0 to Louisiana Tech. ULM could not find the timely hitting the it used to beat the Bulldogs in Ruston a few weeks ago.
Ryan Humeniuk went 1-for-4 with a double and Andrew Beesley was 2-for-4 to lead the Warhawks at the plate.
Cole Martin took the loss after giving up 2 runs on six hits. Cole Gray pitched 1.1 scoreless innings in relief.
The Warhawks host a three-game conference series against UALR beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. then Friday at 6 p.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.
In golf action, ULM was red hot and defeated two SEC teams – Ole Miss and Vanderbilt to win the Old Waverly Championship in West Point, Mississippi. Fanonnel Guillaume and Andoni Etchenique led the Warhawks.
In softball news, ULM lost to Mississippi Valley State 9-8 on Tuesday and will host a three-game series beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. against South Alabama.
The ULM baseball team saw its final game of a three-game Sun Belt Conference series cancelled due to rain at Appalachian State on Sunday. ULM lost two games to App. State and will return to Monroe to host Louisiana Tech on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Congratulations are in order for former Warhawk basketball guard Daishon Smith. Smith was named to the LSWA All-Louisiana First-Team College Basketball and state newcomer of the year. Smith was a senior when he arrived as a transfer from Witchita State and sat out 1 season before becoming in the only Division I player in America to average at least 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.0 steals per game in the 2018-2019 season.
The ULM volleyball team won a pair of matches this weekend with a 5-0 win over Spring Hill College and 3-2 over UNO.
The ULM baseball team lost Game 1 of a double header at Appalachian State 10-8 on Saturday after ASU scored five runs in the bottom of the eight inning to pull out the win.
ULM took a 8-5 lead after their own five-run frame in the top of the eighth inning. Joey Jordan, Trent Tingelstad, and Chad Bell hit doubles for ULM.
The Warhawks took a 3-1 lead early in the second game before it was postponed due to fog. The game resumes at 10 a.m. Sunday in the third inning.
In football news, the top returning wide receiver for ULM, RJ Turner, announced via social media on Saturday he has graduated early and will transfer prior to his last year of eligibility.
The news is a tough blowas ULM needed Turner, the most experienced returning wide receiver and one surely going to be featured in the offense in 2019. It is certainly one that is a head scratcher that we will have more on in the coming weeks.
The ULM football team closed spring football with a good practice inside Malone Stadium on Friday and the annual Spring Game.
ULM moved the game to 6 p.m. Friday as well as the alumni crawfish boil due to expected heavy rain moving into town on Saturday.
“I thought the competitive spirit was good,” ULM coach Matt Viator said. “Everybody was having some fun and playing football.”
A great two-minute drill and balanced running attack were highlights of the starting offense led by senior quarterback Caleb Evans.
The defense forced two turnovers and even special teams had a good night including a 43-yard field goal by kicker Jacob Meeks in the closing seconds.
Evans was 14-of-19 for 154 yards and one scoring drive that saw running back Josh Johnson run for 19-yards on the drive before closing it out on a three-yard touchdown scamper. Meeks made the PAT kick.
In baseball news, ULM lost 3-2 at Appalachian State in the three-game series opener. Ryan Humanlike hit a home run to lead ULM. Trey Jeans took the loss. Rain in the forecast in Boone, NC this weekend will alter the series. The teams will try to play a double header Saturday with first-pitch at 9 a.m.
The ULM Softball team fell 8-7 at Texas-Arlington on Friday. A six-run frame in the bottom of the seventh inning erased a 7-1 Warhawk lead.
Jayden Mount went 4-of-5 with 2 RBI while Sydney McKay was 3-of-5 at the plate for ULM. Game 2 is Saturday at 1 p.m. in Arlington.
The ULM athletics department introduced Brooks Williams as the next head coach of Warhawks women’s basketball on Thursday.
Williams spent nine seasons as head coach at McNeese State in Lake Charles sending two teams to the NCAA tournament and winning 161 games (tops at McNeese All-time) at a school that also produced current ULM football coach Matt Viator who was a teacher at Jennings High School in the late 1990s when Williams was a student-athlete.
Williams spent the past three seasons as one of the top assistant coaches to former NLU/ULM great Kristy Curry at Alabama.
Alabama had a pair of 20 win seasons while Williams was on staff.
In baseball action, ULM starts a three-game series at Appalachian State Friday at 1 p.m. after its big bats and some nifty pitching sent ULM to its fifth consecutive win 8-4 over Nothwestern State on Wednesday.
Trent Tinglestad hit two homers and current home run leader Chad Bell belted a homer of his own to lead the Warhawks.
Conner Deeds got the win with three scoreless innings of relief over three complete innings. Miles Dunn and Landon Longsworth pitched 1 scoreless inning each.
ULM now tries to keep its 4-game conference winning streak going against the Mountaineers with the first game airing live on 1680 AM in the Monroe area.
In tennis action, ULM defeated ULL Ragin’ Cajuns for the 10th straight time. The following recap is from ulmwarhawks.com:
MONROE, La. – ULM defeated the Ragin' Cajuns, 4-1, in Sun Belt women's tennis action Wednesday (April 10) afternoon, extending its winning streak over ULL to 10 consecutive matches (since 2010).
ULM (10-4, 5-3 Sun Belt) grabbed the first victory in doubles play when No. 2 pair Shivani Manjanna and Maria Cueto triumphed over Dana Radovanovic and Milena Achlamov, 6-2. The Ragin’ Cajuns answered with a 6-1 win by the No. 3 doubles team of Floriane Picaut and AK Harvey, who defeated Florencia Salerno and Jimena Garbino. ULL (6-13, 1-7) snagged the doubles point when No. 1 pair Ai Noa Fabre and Hoda Habib battled past Emilia Alfaro and Tiffany Phaysouphan by a 6-3 margin.
The Warhawks tied the match at 1-1 as Alfaro emerged with a straight-sets victory over Picaut, 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles. Garbino gave ULM a 2-1 lead, thanks to her straight-sets win at No. 4 singles over Fabre, 6-3, 6-4. Cueto followed with another straight-sets victory, this one coming at the No. 5 position over ULL’s Morgan Forshag, 6-1, 6-3.
Manjanna’s second win of the afternoon came in three sets over Radovanovic, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 at No. 2 singles, securing the team victory and pushing ULM’s win streak to 10 matches in a row over the Ragin’ Cajuns.
The Warhawks conclude the Sun Belt regular-season schedule at Arkansas State on Saturday, April 13.
A big day on the ball field this weekend for ULM baseball and softball. The Warhawk baseball team is 2-0 this weekend in a conference three-game series at Georgia State. ULM won the first game 16-8 before winning Game 2 on Saturday 10-3.
The ULM offense has been hot as of late with 42 runs in the last 4 games. Joey Jordan, Chade Bell, Andrew Beesley, and Ryan Humenuik had 2 hits a piece in the Saturday victory. Ty Barnes got the win on Saturday with 5 strong innings on the mound, surrendering just 3 runs. Jacob Barton pitched the final 4 innings and tossed a shutout. The series concludes on Sunday beginning at 12 p.m. on KMLB 105,7 FM.
In softball action, ULM split a doubleheader on Friday with Georgia Southern - 14-13 in Game 1 and lost Game 2, 9-1. Jayden Mount and Korie Kreps belted out 3 hits each.
ULM baseball is back in Sun Belt Conference action Friday at 5 p.m. versus Georgia State in Atlanta. ULM has won 5 of its last 8 games and is looking to to win its second straight SBC series after taking 2-of-3 from Georgia Southern last weekend.
The Warhawks (11-18, 2-7) is led at the plate by Trent Tinglestad with a .369 average to go along with a team-high 9 doubles and team-high 2 triples (along with Chad Bell) as well as second in home runs (3).
Trey Jeans is expected to get the start on the bump for the Warhawks.
In softball news, ULM hosts Georgia Southern at 1 p.m. to start a three-game series at Warhawk Softball Complex. ULM is coming off a 5-4 win at Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond this week and tries for its first conference series win of the season.
Lastly, in football news, the season ticket renew and new season ticket sales have begun. Call 318-342-3ULM for more information.