Post Game Chatter: ULM - Middle Tennessee

Post Game Chatter: ULM - Middle Tennessee

ULM utilized the perfect formula for offensive success Saturday in a much-needed 42-14 rout over Middle Tennessee State. Start fast and keep pounding.

The Warhawks (3-7, 2-4 in the Sun Belt) scored on their first five possessions to build a 35-0 lead and bludgeoned the Blue Raiders with 260 rushing yards on 54 attempts. The rushing yardage total and number of attempts were the most since Todd Berry became head coach. It was the first time in the Sun Belt era that the Warhawks scored on five straight possessions to open a game.

"I was excited about the way we came out," said Berry, who was doused with a cooler of sports drink after the victory. "This team has gone through a lot of adversity during the course of the season. A lot of teams don't rise up. This group continues to rise up."

Offensive coordinator Steve Farmer said having healthy starting tight end Keavon Milton was a key to unlocking the running game. Milton has missed time with injuries during the course of the year.

"Obviously you get that 282-pound tight end back in the lineup and in a position where you can actually play multiple snaps," Farmer said in his radio interview. "It was exciting to see us run the ball the way we did."

Reportedly banged up most of this season and still hobbled according to his coach, tailback Jyruss Edwards rumbled for a career-best 191 yards and three scores on 27 totes.

"He's not completely healthy, but he's not ever going to have any excuses," Berry said. "He's just going to go out and do the best that he can." In recording his first 100-yard game, Edwards' rushing output against Middle Tennessee (2-7, 2-4) was the seventh best in school history.

"The offensive line came out and we were determined to get this for the seniors," Edwards said in his radio interview. "We made a pact. We're going to win out this year. We want it so bad for the seniors. With the way the season has been going, we came out determined.

Edwards has scored seven touchdowns his past two games, including runs of 17, 41 and 31 yards against the Blue Raiders. After his scores, Edwards exited the field flapping his arms like a hawk.

"No one had a bigger smile in that locker room just now than Jyruss," Farmer said.

Passing fancy The ULM passing offense produced 193 yards with receiver Je'Ron Hamm grabbing four passes for 91 yards and a 50-yard touchdown from Kolton Browning.

"Je'Ron is a kid we've been excited about since he's gotten on campus," Farmer said. "He had a big game last year vs. North Texas. He got a big post early in the game. He's a big target and he's a wonderful kid. They keep growing up. I'd like to see him become a dominant receiver, which he's capable of doing."

Browning completed 15-of-18 attempts and tossed two touchdowns. Browning connected on nine of his first 10 passes, the best percentage to start a game in his career.

Walk this way: The blowout afforded ULM coaches the chance to dole out playing time more generously, including to a notable senior walk-on from Baton Rouge.

"We had a young man tonight play for the first time ever -- Ronnie Anderson," Farmer said. "He's a fifth-year senior and a kid who walked onto the program. It was awesome to see him get that opportunity tonight."

Anderson is listed on ULM's roster as a 6-2, 238-pound tight end from Southern Lab who is majoring in kinesiology.

"It's awesome for our kids to get us in that position where you can play a guy like that," Farmer said. "It's a big part of what we do. He honestly doesn't get the opportunity on Saturdays but I'm just really proud of Ronnie for sticking it out. He'll graduate this May. The university served him well and he served them well."

Something special: The ULM special teams unit provided an early spark for the Warhawks. Senior Luther Ambrose opened the game with a 59-yard kickoff return to the MTSU 38. Six plays later, Browning scored on a three-yard run to begin the rout.

Ambrose, who scored on a 100-yard kickoff return at North Texas, has five returns of 40 or more yards this season.

Quote to note: "Obviously it makes a difference when we're healthy, and we're a little healthier now. Hopefully this is a good statement for us and the type of team we wanted to be all season. Now that we're healthy, we can do it." – ULM coach Todd Berry.

Up next: ULM plays its home finale next Saturday when FIU (6-4, 3-3) visits Malone Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. T.Y. Hilton had a 97-yard punt return for a TD as FIU flogged FAU 41-7 on Saturday to gain bowl eligibility for the second straight season.

Tail feathers: ULM has outscored opponents 56-14 in the first quarter this season. .. Edwards moved into a tie for seventh place on the ULM single-season rushing touchdown list with nine and a tie for 11th on the ULM career rushing list with 13. … ULM snapped a five-game losing streak against the Blue Raiders. The series is 9-3 in MTSU's favor. …Browning's two touchdown passes moved him into a tie for sixth on the all-time ULM touchdown passes list with 29. … ULM has forced a turnover in 30-of-34 games under Reffett. …Vincent Eddie grabbed his second interception of the season in the first quarter. ... ULM has gained 400 or more yards of total offense in six of 10 games.

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