Dec 1, 2013 12:29 AM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - Playing in perhaps his final game in an ULM uniform, Kolton Browning completed 18 of 28 passes for 247 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the Warhawks scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to rally past the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, 31-28, on Saturday at Cajun Field.
Rashon Ceaser caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown as ULM (6-6, 4-3 Sun Belt) used a pair of long scoring drives to rally from a 14-point deficit in the first quarter while scoring 10 points off three Louisiana turnovers.
Despite having its school record-tying eight-game win streak snapped, Louisiana (8-3, 5-1 Sun Belt) clinched a share of its first league title since 2005 after WKU defeated Arkansas State, 34-31, earlier in the day. The Cajuns, which lost for just the second time in 16 games at home under head coach Mark Hudspeth, threw interceptions on three straight possessions, including twice in the end zone.
ULM trailed 21-14 at halftime and drove 86 yards in 11 plays on its opening possession of the second half. Browning opened the drive with an 11-yard pass to Tre' Perrier before adding runs of 5 and 22 yards to keep the drive alive. After recovering a bad snap at the UL 16 for a 12-yard loss, Browning hit Ceaser on a slant pass on the following play for his fifth touchdown reception of the year.
A 43-yard kickoff return by Darryl Surgent gave the Cajuns the ball on their own 43 and they quickly moved the ball upfield as runs of 20, 28 and 4 yards by Elijah McGuire moved the ball to the ULM 5. But on the following play, Justin Backus picked off a pass from Terrance Broadway in the end zone and allowing ULM to go on its eventual go-ahead drive.
The Warhawks responded with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that was aided by a 14-yard run on a fake punt by Justin Manton to the ULM 40. Browning rushed 16 yards to the UL 37 on third-and-3 before completing passes of 15 yards to Ceaser and 17 yards to Tony Cook that placed the ball at the UL 4.
One play later, Centarius Donald scored and Browning connected with Ajalen Holley on a two-point conversion for a 28-21 lead with 2:23 left in the third quarter. On the Cajuns next possession, Hunter Kissinger caught a deflected pass by Broadway at the ULM 40 and the Warhawks drove 49 yards with Manton giving ULM a 31-21 lead when he connected on a 28-yard field goal.
The Cajuns cut the lead to 31-28 with 53 seconds remaining when Jamal Robinson caught a 25-yard scoring pass from Brooks Haack, but ULM recovered Louisiana's on-side kick and eventually ran out the clock.
Louisiana took the opening possession and drove 68 yards in nine plays with Broadway scoring on 2-yard run around left end with 9:59 remaining. After forcing ULM into a three-and-out on its opening drive, the Cajuns went 35 yards in five plays to take a quick 14-0 lead.
After Surgent returned a Manton punt to the ULM 35, Broadway connected with McGuire on an 8-yard pass before the true freshman raced around right end for a 22-yard gain to the ULM 5.
Two plays later, McGuire scored his seventh touchdown of the season when he plunged in on a 3-yard run with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter.
ULM heated up on its next drive as it drove 76 yards in eight plays, converting on a pair of key third-down conversions. The Warhawks converted on third-and-8 when Browning bought time in the pocket and found Je'Ron Hamm for a 35-yard gain to the UL 39 connecting with Holley for a 29-yard scoring pass on third-and-15.
The Warhawks tied the game at 14-14 on their following possession after forcing the Cajuns to punt. Starting from its own 14, ULM's Brayle Brown opened the drive with a 7-yard run before DeVontae McNeal scored two plays later when he raced past the Cajuns defense and sprinted 77 yards with 10:01 remaining in the first half.
Broadway finished 13-for-27 for 178 yards and a touchdown for Louisiana, eclipsing the 5,000-yard barrier in the process. McGuire rushed for a game-high 119 yards to post his fourth 100-yard game of the season for the Cajuns while combining with Robinson and Butler to catch a team-high five passes.
The Cajuns outgained ULM in total offense, 471-394, and controlled the football for over 18 minutes in the opening half.