Rusty Smith hit Cortez Gent in the middle of the end zone from 22 yards out with 20 seconds to play to lift Florida Atlantic to a 29-28 come-from-behind victory over ULM Saturday night at Malone Stadium in Sun Belt Conference action.
Smith completed seven-of-eight passes for 72 yards on the game-winning drive after ULM missed a 45-yard field goal that would have given the Warhawks an eight-point lead with just under two minutes to play.
The Warhawks (2-6, 1-3 Sun Belt) jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, but Florida Atlantic (3-5, 1-2) stormed back with 20-unanswered points.
Kinsmon Lancaster gave ULM a 28-20 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the game with his third touchdown pass of the night – an eight-yard strike to Zeek Zacharie.
Lancaster finished the game 22-of-28 for 216 yards and the three touchdowns. He moved into sole possession of fifth place on the ULM career touchdown passes list with 32, just one behind Doug Pederson for fourth. He also carried the ball 14 times for 86 yards.
Smith completed 28-of-39 for 267 yards and a pair of scores. Gent finished the game with five catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
The Owls began their fourth-quarter comeback with a Warley Leroy 22-yard field goal with 5:41 remaining in the game.
On the ensuing possession, the Warhawks marched the ball 50 yards on nine plays, but a holding call on a second-down play on the Florida Atlantic 30-yard line pushed ULM back to the 36. After a one-yard loss, Lancaster hit Darrell McNeal for a nine-yard completion on third down to set up the 45-yard field goal attempt, which sailed wide left.
ULM found the end zone twice in the first quarter on a six-yard touchdown pass from Lancaster to Anthony McCall and a four-yard run by McNeal. In the opening minutes of the second quarter, Lancaster hit McNeal for a 13-yard touchdown to push the lead to 21-0.
Smith put the Owls on the board with a one-yard run with just under two minutes left in the second quarter. Following an interception on ULM's next possession, Smith threw a 13-yard score to Gent in the waning seconds of the first half.
ULM had an early opportunity in the second half to extend its lead back out to 14, but a fumble on the Florida Atlantic 13-yard line halted the drive. The Owls took advantage of the mistake four minutes later with a 37-yard field goal by Leroy.
Following a ULM three-and-out, Leroy capped an 11-play drive with a 36-yard field goal to pull the Owls within 21-20.
The Warhawks wrap up the home portion of the schedule next Saturday against Troy at 6 p.m. in Malone Stadium.