For eight seniors Saturday night, it would be the last time they would wear the maroon and gold of ULM. Those seven seniors rose to the occasion big time and went out winners as the Warhawks defeated the FIU Panthers 31-24 Saturday night in south Florida.
For the offense Zeek Zacharie, Larry Shappley, and Kinsmon Lancaster trotted onto the battlefield one last time. Shappley anchored an offensive line that paved the way for 173 rushing yards, 71 yards by Lancaster including a 16 yard touchdown run. For Shappley it was his 45th career start, missing only two games due to injury.
Lancaster had a hand in three of ULM's touchdowns on the night. He started the scoring with a 16 yard touchdown run right up the middle of the Panther defense. Kinsmon would continue his brilliant season by tossing a 7 yard touchdown pass to his favorite red zone target, Zeek Zacharie. Later in the game Lancaster hooked up with red shirt freshman Anthony McCall on a perfectly thrown 19 yard fade pattern.
Lancaster finished the 2008 season with 2,040 yards, 18 touchdown passes and just 7 interceptions. He also rushed for 614 yards and four more scores.
The before mentioned Zeek Zacharie wrapped up a remarkable career and will leave ULM as one of the best tight ends to ever wear the maroon and gold. Zacharie caught a team high 5 passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. It would be Zeek's 12 career touchdown pass and move him into a tie for 10th place all time at ULM.
Zeek finished the season with 46 catches for 510 yards and 4 touchdowns, all career highs. For his career, Zacharie finished with 112 catches, 1,352 yards, and 9 touchdowns. His 112 catches moved him into 9th place all time in career receptions. Zeek will finish just one reception behind Joey Evans (113 rec) and above John Floyd (105).
The Warhawks will have to replace one of the more versatile athletes in 2009 as Chance Payne played his last game for ULM as well. Payne transferred to ULM from Army as a quarterback, ended his career as a defensive back for the Warhawks. Chance turned in his best defense performance as a Warhawk Saturday night recording 8 tackles with four of those coming behind the line of scrimmage.
Payne finished the 2008 season with 50 tackles, good for sixth on the team. His seven tackles for loss ranked third on the team. Chance forced one fumble, recovered one, defended 3 passes and broke up 3 passes. Chance also had some big moments as ULM's holder on place kicks. In 2007 on the road at FAU, ULM lined up for an apparent 47 yard field goal. The call was for a fake and Payne delivered a 19 yard pass to Zeek Zacharie down to the FAU 11 yard line. The kick would eventually be blocked but the Warhawks triumphed in overtime 33-30.
Defensive tackle DeMarcus Carmouche will be sorely missed on an already thin defensive line going into 2009. Carmouche finished the season with 30 tackles, six behind the line of scrimmage. While the numbers won't bowl you over, his job wasn't to register a ton of tackles. His job was to clog the middle of that defense, which he did. The senior also had 6 quarterback hurries, forced a fumble and recovered one. Carmouche had two tackles in the win Saturday night.
DeMarcus leaves ULM with 57 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, and 2 quarterback sacks.
An unsung hero of 2008 is that of senior defensive end Victor Gaines. Listed as fourth on the depth chart, Victor was forced into action when the Warhawks lost starter after starter to ACL tears. Gaines played in 11 games this season and started one. For his career Victor leaves ULM with 21 tackles, 4 for a loss, and 1 quarterback sack. Gaines had two tackles and one pass break up in the win against FIU.
The gut check performance of the night came from deep snapper Brandon Woodside. Playing with a torn ACL, the senior wasn't about to let that keep him from playing in his last game as a Warhawk. Woodside handled all field goal and punt snaps in 2008 for ULM.
Reserve offensive lineman Kyle Kerston also action in Saturdays win over FIU in his final game as a ULM Warhawk.
Other senior that were injured or unable to play include Marty Humphrey, Travis Eickman, Aaron Shultz, Jeremy Moll, and Patrick Frazier.
Wide out Marty Humphrey will leave as one of the most famous alumni in ULM history. Humphrey caught the winning touchdown in ULM's historic 21-14 upset over the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2007. The sure handed possession receiver leaves ULM with 45 catches for 590 yards and the one touchdown that made history.
Despite not playing a down in 2008 due to a torn ACL, defensive end Travis Eickman still finished with 45 tackles at ULM. Five were made behind the line of scrimmage, he recovered 2 fumbles and blocked 2 kicks. He will be remembered for his never give up attitude and constant motor on the football field.