One Last Look at ULM – From the Bird’s Nest
Anyone who has read my blogs concerning the Sun Belt knows how much I think of Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Kolton Browning. And, I'm just sickened over the fact he was hurt and could miss multiple games. I wish him nothing but the best, as I'm sure all Cajun fans do.
And, there might be some in North Louisiana that disagree, but I think the Cajuns would have won this game even if Browning had played.
Because Browning doesn't play defense. And, the Cajuns' offensive game plan and execution would have not given him a lot of chances. Now, we'll never know for sure, but those who just assume a healthy Browning would have meant a ULM victory need to re-think the scenario.
Here's my assessment of the game.
OFFENSE--My top two keys for victory in last weeks blog were to run the football and play keep away. And, the Cajuns executed that perfectly. Louisiana ran the ball right down ULM's throat for 234 yards. They had touchdown drives of 77, 79, 86, 87, 99 and 85 yards. Three of the drives ate up 22:50 on the clock, which was a greater time of possession than ULM had the entire game. And, the Cajuns did a good job of milking the play clock as well, frequently letting the play clock run inside of ten seconds before snapping the football.
The Cajuns also turned Terrance Broadway loose. He did a much better job of getting rid of the football (another pre-game key) and scrambled out of the pocket and ran; something we haven't seen a lot of this year.
DEFENSE--The much maligned unit and its coaching staff got some redemption Saturday. I read one fan's comment about ULM scoring 24 points when they only had 19 minutes of possession time. I look at it this way: Twice the defense had to come on the field after a Cajuns' turnover. They allowed three points total. That's two wins.
ULM had twelve possessions in the game. They scored on four. They punted five times, had two turnovers and missed a field goal. That's winning football for the defense. And, ULM never had the football for more than seven plays in any one drive.
Let's look at the touchdowns. One came on a busted play when Tig Barksdale got suckered by Browing. One score came when the Cajuns had a big lead were playing prevent to make ULM burn some clock. So, only one time can we say the Warhawks drove the football against the Cajuns defense. That's winning football. Let's give the defensive staff and players a little credit here.
SPECIAL TEAMS--The Cajuns allowed only one kickoff return past the 30 in the game. They didn't allow punt returns. Brett Baer did miss his second extra point and punted a touchback--for the first time this season. Nothing spectacular, but all in all, pretty solid..
TURNOVERS--Bad news is the Cajuns turned it over twice in the first quarter. Good news is, ULM only got three points off those turnovers. Good news, the Cajuns got the two turnovers back. And, they actually did get seven points off the two ULM turnovers...thanks to the last play of the game......