Florida Atlantic and the ULM Warhawks are set to kickoff the Sun Belt slate of their schedules against each other Saturday afternoon. Warhawk Nation takes a look at the keys to a ULM victory.
Get the run game going and that means everybody. Each back brings something different to the table and all must be utilized. To do that however you must show the threat of a vertical passing game. See next key.
Take some chances down field. 6'3 fifth year senior LaGregory has hardly been used (6 catches through 3 games) and is a mismatch for 90% of all defensive backs in college football. Sapp has made the spectacular catch on many occasions (Tulsa, Clemson, ect) and is not afraid to go over the middle. Throw Anthony McCall (3 catches 22 yards) into that category as well. With 6 touchdowns as a freshman McCall proved he is a physical threat down the field (see Arkansas in 08).
Luther, Luther, Luther. With no touches in the first half of the Arizona State game the offense struggled and was missing that game breaking speed Luther brings to the table. Ambrose is averaging 17 yards every time he touches it on offense but finished with just 1 catch for 9 yards.
Fresh legs in the game. Frank Goodin, who admitted he was out of shape, has a 3-1 carry margin over Rodney Lovett. We haven't seen Isaiah Newsome since his career day against Texas Southern either. Newsome brings a different dimension to the game with his ability to cut and bounce the play outside.
Protect the ball, that's a given.
Bring the heat. Lots of it. Rusty Smith is crafty and he will pick you apart if you let him. ULM fans memory should still be fresh from 2008 when Smith did just that. Smith orchestrated a 72 yard drive hitting 7/8 passes and throwing the winning touchdown with just 20 seconds to play giving FAU the 29-28 victory.
Special teams, ugh where do we start. Scrap whatever scheme you've got and start over. The kickoff coverage is the worst in recent ULM memory and has nowhere to go but up. A momentum make or breaker, the Warhawks cannot afford to surrender a gimmie 7 points on kickoffs or punt returns.
Special teams have bit the Warhawks when it mattered most in the past as well. Bradley Robinson of Middle Tennessee returned a kickoff 89 yards with just 57 seconds left lifting the Blue Raiders to a 43-40 victory over ULM in 2007. It cost ULM a 7-5 season and a bowl bid.
(P.S start recruiting the kid that can boot it into the end zone on kickoffs)
Put the foot on the throat of your opponent and don't let off. The Warhawks come out like gang busters, build a big halftime lead only to wilt in the second half, blow those leads, and eventually lose the game. Again against FAU last year ULM jumped out to a 21-0 lead only to lose it late. ULM also led Arkansas 24-6 in 2008 before the Razorbacks stormed back for the 28-27 win. A 27-23 loss to NWST in 2005 still haunts ULM fans.