The ULM Warhawks fought hard but came up a little short in their season opener against the visiting Tulsa Hurricane 35-17. Trailing 17-14 at the half the Hurricane rallied for 21 straight points in the second half.
The game started like it would be a track meet as Tulsa went right down the field and scored on a Paul Smith to Tarrion Adams 24 yard wheel route.
Louisiana would drive the field as well on the legs of Calvin Dawson. On 3rd and 10 Kinsmon Lancaster just missed Dawson down the sideline for a would be touchdown. Kicker Cole Wilson came in on fourth down and booted a 36 yard field to make the score 7-3 Tulsa.
The two teams would trade punts on their next 2 series before Tulsa would again begin to march down the field. After a Chris Chamberlain 7 yard run to pick up a first down, the ULM defense would strike. Tulsa qb Paul Smith was delivered a bad snap that rolled past him 10 yards. He scooped it up but LB Chance Payne stripped the ball right back out. LB Matthew Freeman scooped the ball up and raced 46 yards making the score ULM 10 Tulsa 7.
Like a prize fighter, Tulsa wouldn't be fazed as they went back out on offense. The Hurricane would go 79 yards on 7 plays and score in just over a minute to go right back on top 14-10. Tarrion Adams would take the off tackle run and score from five yards out for the touchdown. The big play on the drive was a 29 yard pass from Smith to Charles Clay. Smith was 3/3 for 49 yards on the drive.
After 24 points were put on the board in the first quarter, things slowed down a bit in the second. The Warhawks would pick up 16 yards on a Lancaster qb keeper and another 15 on a personal foul call against Tulsa for roughing the qb. Driving to the Tulsa 32 and facing 4th and 1, ULM decides to go for it. The Hurricane defense snuffs out the QB sneak and tosses Lancaster for a one yard loss turning the ball back over the Tulsa offense.
Tulsa would not do much with their fresh set of downs as they would face a 3rd and 11 from their own 45. Sophomore Aaron Morgan would come flying around the his end position and sack Smith for a 4 yard loss and force Tulsa to punt the ball back to ULM.
With 9:19 left in the half the Louisiana Warhawks would go on their best drive of the night. A 10 play 66 yard drive that ended with a Kinsmon Lancaster 10 yard touchdown pass to LaGregory Sapp in the corner of the end zone. The play was looked at in the booth but the call on the field stood and ULM took the lead back at 17-14. The drive was highlighted by a Lancaster 31 yard pass to Aaron Stringfellow and a 16 yard scramble later in the drive by Lancaster.
A series of crazy plays would take place on Tulsa's next possesion. With the half nearing and Tulsa driving, Greg James would step in front of a pass over the middle and pick it off. Returning it out to the 36 yard line he would fumble and Tarrion Adams would recover for Tulsa. The Hurricane would come out and try a 34 yard field goal but it hit the left up right no good as we went to halftime.
The second half would be all Tulsa, all the time. ULM would go 3 and out on back to back possesions to start the second half Tulsa would do just the opposite. A questionable roughing the quarterback call against ULM would give Tulsa extra life and a first down deep in Warhawk territory. On the very next play, Paul Smith would find A.J. Whitmore for the 15 yard touchdown and Tulsa led 21-17.
On the Tulsa next possesion Paul Smith would roll right and heave a jump ball into the endzone that would caught by Trae Johnson for the 41 yard score. Johnson would out jump ULM cornerback Darrius Battles for the score and Tulsa now led 28-17 with 6:07 left in the 3rd.
The Hurricane would run 20 plays and pick up 141 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 3rd quarter compared to 17 plays and 61 yards for the Warhawks.
The fourth quarter would be any kinder to ULM as they would struggle to find an offensive groove. Tulsa would put this one away when Chris Chamberlain scored from 4 yards out pushing the lead to 35-17. The big play on the drive was a 51 yard scamper by Tarrion Adams. Adams finished the night with 129 yards rushing on 28 carries and a touchdown reception.
In the end it was too much Paul Smith as the senior completed 22/31 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Charles Clay the Hurricane with 8 receptions for 92 yards.
For the Warhawks it was a brutal second half as they punted on all 6 possesions and never could get any offense going. Calvin Dawson was the workhorse for ULM carrying the ball 24 times for 150 yards. Sapp led ULM with 2 catches for 23 yards and a touchdown. Kinsmon Lancaster finished the night 7/21 for 66 yards and one touchdown. The Hurricane outgained ULM 528 yards to 280 and picked up 30 first downs compaired to 15 for the home team.[>
Next week the Louisiana Warhawks will travel to South Carolina to face the Clemson Tigers. The Tulsa Hurricane will have a bye week before returning home to face BYU.