ULM notebook: Bowden encourages players and fans to savor the rivalry against the Cajuns
ULM’s 21-17 win over Louisiana Lafayette is a head coach Terry Bowden wants its players and Warhawk fans to enjoy it.
ULM (2-2, 1-0 Sun Belt) scored twice in the fourth quarter and rallied from a 10-point deficit to reset a number of streaks that ULL (2-2, 0-1 Sun Belt ) introduced into the rivalry game.
The Cajuns won four straight against ULM before losing to Bowden’s group in Monroe. ULL had also won 16 straight games against Sun Belt West opponents, 13 straight road games in the regular season and 13 straight conference games in the regular season. For ULM, it was their first home win over the Cajuns in nine games dating back to the 2004 season.
“They’re in our division and the defending champion,” Bowden told the team and the media after the Sun Belt conference opener Saturday night. “You guys who were here before me, they beat you 70-20 just two years ago and now you’re beating them here. They’re still the defending champion 13-1 until we announce one And so, what our guys accomplished tonight in the perception of our football team – the respect they got for our program tonight from our conference knowing that Lafayette has been a contender for a few years.
“Whether they like it or not, we’re in this boat now. We have to prove it again. It doesn’t matter if we can’t get to next week. But from tonight, right now, it’s is the shot in the arm we need to give credibility to the direction of our program.”
The ULM defense contributed a number of crucial plays while limiting the Cajuns to 86 yards on 38 carries. ULL made six punts, lost a fumble and an interception, had two turnovers on tries and three three outs.
“Even when I called plays as a head coach, I knew defense wins championships,” Bowden said. “If you play great defense, you’re still in the game of football.”
ULM recorded three sacks and seven tackles for a loss while keeping ULL scoreless in the second half.
Linebacker Zack Woodard led the Warhawks with eight tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery and one rushing quarterback. Cornerback David Godsey Jr. blitzed for a sack while Car’lin Vigers made the interception with two pass breakups.
Well Named, Caleb Thomas and At Fitzroy Gardner’s combo sack in midfield as time runs out to seal the victory for ULM.
“I do so little but I’m a cheerleader these days,” Bowden said. “I try to motivate and inspire. It was about our football players playing as hard as they could play and our coaches preparing them as hard as they could. I’m proud to be a part of them and to be part of our players and our team. and all those who have contributed to make this. If I make this bigger than it is, it is because it is important for us in this We’ve moved in the right direction, but it’s a long journey and it’s a major step in the right direction.”
Oh Henry: Come back at André Henry The 75-yard touchdown in the first quarter was career long while also setting him up for a career night.
Henry rushed for 123 yards and scored on just 11 carries, averaging 11.2 yards per touch.
As a team, ULM rushed 39 times for a season-high 227 yards and scored all three rushing touchdowns. ULM averaged 5.8 yards per carry and lost just 8 yards in the game (on a sack).
“We just kept throwing the jabs all week,” Henry said. “The O line took care of everything and I ran the ball through midfield. I appreciate those five guys allowing me to do that.”
A legion of the region: With a big game against an in-state rival, ULM’s Sun Belt Conference opener drew 19,077 fans to Malone Stadium.
The crowd was the largest since 21,720 people attended ULM’s home opener against Jackson State on September 18, 2021.
“On both sides of the field, in both end zones, the noise was there and the excitement was there,” Bowden said. “We’re starting to have this electric ULM pitch at home. We’ve had six wins since I’ve been head coach here and they’re all at home. That means something to me.”
Enemy lines: ULL coach Michael Desormeaux lamented his team’s wave of fatal errors after the Cajuns lost for the second time in two weeks.
A snap over the punter’s head set up the ULM at the ULL 8 in the fourth quarter and led to a short TD run by the ULM quarterback Chandler Roger which brought the score to 17-14.
ULM also flipped the field on an 89-yard pass from Rogers to Tyrone Howell in the last quarter. malik jackson scored two plays later with 6:51 remaining for the game-winning touchdown.
“Every game counts, we treat it that way, and tonight they had some big ones that we gave up,” Desormeaux told reporters outside the ULL locker room. “We have to do a better job in critical situations and make them count. As the game went on we got lost a bit, we started pressing a bit instead of just playing.”
Next: Arkansas State hosts the Warhawks on Oct. 1 at Jonesboro. The Red Wolves fell to 1-3, 0-1 Sun Belt after a 29-26 loss to Old Dominion on September 24.
Quarterback James Blackman completed 23 of 35 passes for 285 yards and a touchdown for Arkansas State. The Red Wolves led 12-0 at half-time.