A total team effort boosted the ULM Warhawks to a big 31-27 season ending victory over the Sun Belt's surprise team, the FIU Panthers Saturday night.
ULM road the legs of Frank Goodin and Kinsmon Lancaster as the duo combined for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Lancaster also tossed two more touchdowns on the night, a 19 yard fade pattern to red shirt Freshman Anthony McCall and a 8 yard strike to senior Zeek Zacharie.
Florida International took an early lead when got a 41 yard field goal from Panther kicker Dustin Rivest.
The Warhawks would answer with 12:23 left in the 2nd quarter on a 16 yard touchdown run by Lancaster. The big play on the drive came when ULM faced a 3rd and 13 from the FIU 42. Quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster drilled tight end Zeek Zacharie on a 26 yard pass to set the Warhawks up at the FIU 16. Lancaster took it in on the very next play.
ULM would hold FIU to a three and out on their next possession and look to build on their momentum. Darrell McNeal returned the punt 34 yards to the FIU 40 but was hit late out of bounds placing the ball all the way down to the Panther 25. Four plays later Goodin punched it in from two yards out giving ULM a 14-3 lead.
The Panthers would pick up one first down on their next series but that drive too would fail forcing yet another punt. ULM would put together it's most impressive drive of the night going on a 13 play 74 yard drive that ended with a Lancaster to Zacharie 7 yard touchdown pass. Along the way the Warhawks converted 2 third downs and one fourth down. The biggest conversion came on a 3rd and 19 when Lancaster hit McNeal for 21 yards keeping the drive alive.
FIU would take the ball to start the 3rd quarter and do just what they needed to do to get back into the ball game. A seven play drive ended with a Paul McCall 21 yard scoring pass to Greg Ellingson. The Warhawks now led 21-10.
ULM would struggle to move the ball on their first possession of the half going three and out but would get an early Christmas present from the Panthers. T.Y. Hilton would muff the Scott Love 50 yard punt and the Warhawks would recover at the Panther 23 yard line. Three plays later the Warhawks were in the end zone again. A 19 yard fade pass to Anthony McCall would push the ULM lead back up to 28-10.
It would only take FIU four plays to answer the ULM score when McCall hit Hilton on a 55 yard scoring strike to make it 28-17 Warhawks with 6:57 left in the third quarter.
ULM would chew six minutes off the clock on an 11 play drive that ended with a Radi Jabour 25 yard field goal pushing the ULM lead to 31-17. FIU would continue to battle back and pick up a huge 40 yard run by tailback Julian Reems to the ULM four yard line. Reams would punch it in two plays later and make the score 31-24 with 12:13 left in the game.
FIU would capitalize on a ULM three and out and go on a fourteen play drive that chewed seven minutes off the clock. A false start penalty from the ULM 2 yard line pushed the Panthers back and kept them from putting a touchdown on the board. A Rivest 23 yard field goal made the score 31-27 but would prove costly in the end.
FIU would get one more shot with 3:14 left in the contest. Starting on their own 36, Panther quarterback McCall would be sacked by Junior defensive end Aaron Morgan for a four yard loss. Morgan would continue the pressure on the next play forcing McCall to scramble and pick up only one yard. Following a in completion the Panthers faced a fourth and 14 from their own 33 yard line. Mr Defense for ULM Cardia Jackson put an exclamation point on his night with a crushing sack of McCall that turned the ball over to ULM.
ULM (4-8) would run out the clock and improve their record in the state of Florida to 5-0 under coach Charlie Weatherbie.
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