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November 6, 2012
If losing the game to instate rival Louisiana-Lafayette wasn't bad enough, ULM now looks like it will have to deal with a season-ending injury to quarterback Kolton Browning as it makes a run for its first Sun Belt Conference title.
Browning injured his foot in the first quarter of the 40-24 loss to the Ragin' Cajuns, limping off the field after getting off a third-down incompletion under a heavy rush.
At the time the game was tied 7-7. Browning spent the rest of the afternoon on crutches.
Backup quarterback Cody Wells replaced Browning, and the senior was 18-of-31 passing for 209 yards and two touchdowns. But he didn't present the dual threat Browning does.
Wells ended up with a negative-six yards rushing. Browning had 24 yards on two carries before his injury.
"Obviously, the game plan changes somewhat with Kolton's ability to run the ball," coach Todd Berry said. "When you lose one quarterback, you're obviously not that fired up about losing another one. So the game plan changes somewhat in terms of how you're going to protect that guy."
The immediate concern now is the quick turnaround the Warhawks face with a Thursday night game coming up at Arkansas State. The longtime effect is how Browning's injury impacts the Warhawks' play down the stretch.
The Warhawks are tied with Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee for first place in the Sun Belt Conference race, each with 4-1 league marks. Western Kentucky and Louisiana-Lafayette are right behind with two league defeats each.
"We're still in it, but the margin of error is minimal now because of that tie," said Berry, whose team is 6-3 overall having have its winning streak snapped at five games. "Now, it's time to see how we respond."
Strategy And Personnel
? WR Tavarese Maye had only two catches against Louisiana-Lafayette but one was an 81-yard touchdown reception that tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter. It was the longest play from scrimmage for ULM this season.
? S Isaiah Newsome made his third interception of the season and sixth of his career with his pick in the first quarter.
? LB R.J. Young made his second fumble recovery of the season in the second quarter. He had eight tackles with one for a loss.
? S Henry Mitchell made his second start at the "Hawk" position, a hybrid safety-linebacker, and led the Warhawks in tackles with 16. He also forced a fumble.
? RB Monterrell Washington rushed for 41 yards on 12 runs in taking over responsibilities at running back in place of the injured Jyruss Edwards. He wasn't listed as a starter because the Warhawks ran their first two plays with no one lined up at running back.
WHAT'S AHEAD: ULM and Arkansas State will be playing for the Sun Belt Conference lead when they meet in a Thursday night game in Jonesboro, Ark. Both are 4-1 in conference play, tied with Middle Tennessee, also 4-1, for first. The Warhawks also have a home game left against North Texas and a road outing at Florida International.
? Louisiana-Lafayette scored on an 81-yard pass play on the game's final play, with QB Terrence Broadway taking a fourth-down snap with four seconds on the game clock and finding a wide-open Jamal Robinson for the score. It was a 10-point game at the time, and it led to a rather frosty handshake between the coaches. "We didn't talk," ULM's Todd Berry said of his meeting with Lafayette's Rick Hudspeth, though actually some words looked to be exchanged at the time.
? Attendance for the game in Monroe's Malone Stadium was announced as 20,203, the second-largest home crowd for ULM against a Sun Belt Conference opponent. The largest was the 2008 meeting between the same two teams that drew 21,929.
? ULM has lost five in a row to Louisiana-Lafayette and trails in the overall series 25-23.
Keep An Eye On: Senior QB Cody Wells will take over for the injured Kolton Browning. He is 23-of-41 passing for the season for 302 yards and has been intercepted three times.
Looking Good: Senior WR Brent Leonard continued his hot streak with 11 receptions for 168 yards and a touchdown against the Cajuns. He has 20 catches for 294 yards and five touchdowns in the last two games combined.
Still Needs Work: Defense was a big problem for ULM. The Warhawks gave up 607 yards in total offense to the Cajuns with 234 coming on the ground.
Quote To Note: "We have to play better. I'm not going to bring a kid out of a redshirt for the last four games. Obviously, we're not playing very well back there."-Coach Todd Berry, on ULM's problems in the secondary.