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November 3, 2010

Warhawk Inside Slant

Warhawk Inside Slant
All season, ULM has struggled trying to run the ball. And the Warhawks finally found the answer against Troy, rushing for 191 yards in their upset of the Trojans.  Part of improvement was because the Warhawks had been emphasizing their passing game in recent outings, but there was another factor, coach Todd Berry said.

"I think we're just growing up a little bit, too," Berry said as the Warhawks began preparations for their trip to South Florida to take on Florida International. "I've been kind of waiting for our guys to have more comfort level in what we're doing and become a little bit more physical."

Berry also credited offensive coordinator Steve Farmer for keeping the Trojans off-balance with his play-calling. The Warhawks ran the ball 49 times, second only to the 52 runs they had against Southeastern Louisiana, and threw 31 passes.

The Warhawks also have been working hard on their running game over the last three weeks, and that was part of the payoff, too.

"It wasn't an epiphany this week-OK, we're going to run the football," Berry said. "It was just a combination of spending more time on it and growing up."

Whatever the case, the improvement came at good time. The victory kept the Warhawks in the Sun Belt race and put them at 4-4 overall. They are 3-2 in the conference going to Florida International, which is 2-5, 2-1.



 ULM is last in the Sun Belt Conference in red-zone offense, scoring on only 13 of 19 trips inside opponents' 20-yard line. Only 10 of the scores have been touchdowns. Against Florida International, the Warhawks will be up against a defense that is holding opponents at a 71.4 percent success rate in red-zone defense, third-best in the league.

 The Warhawks will take a four-game winning streak in the series into their game at Florida International. Their only loss to the Panthers was in 2005 by a 31-29 score in Monroe, La. The Warhawks are 2-0 against the Panthers in games played in Miami.

 ULM coach Todd Berry and Florida International's Mario Cristobal served on the same staff at Miami in 2006. "We knew each other before getting together, but when we were down there we were very close," Berry said. "My wife is close with his wife and really considered to be very, very dear friends."

Series History:   ULM leads Florida International, 5-1 (last meeting, 2009, ULM, 48-35).

Scouting The Offense:   ULM's rushing game came alive against Troy, compiling 191 yards spread out among six ball carriers. That was nearly double their previous average production of 98.8 yards per game. QB Kolton Browning is the third-most productive passer in the league at 217.6 yards per game, and WR Luther Ambrose is fourth in both receptions at 5.5 per game and receiving yards at 61.9 per game.

Scouting The Defense:   ULM's defense ranks fifth overall and sixth against the pass, but did a great job against Troy, the league leader in passing yards per game. The Warhawks held the Trojans to 167 yards through the air, more than 120 yards below their usual production. LBs Jason Edwards and Cameron Blakes have combined for 112 tackles to lead the unit.


Quote To Note: "This is generally the time period when you start seeing a bunch of upsets nation-wide."
-Coach Todd Berry, on the significance of his team's victory over defending league champion Troy.



This Week's Game: ULM at Florida International, Nov. 6-The Warhawks have put themselves very much into the Sun Belt race with their victory over Troy. Now they face a Florida International team that is smarting from a loss to is neighbor, Florida Atlantic. Florida International is only 2-5 this season, but is 2-1 in the league and hoping to stay in the conference race.

Keys To The Game:   Shut down Florida International's running game. The Panthers have improved their rushing game over the dismal attack they had a year ago, but forcing QB Wesley Carroll to beat them looks to be the way for the Warhawks to go. By the same measure, the Warhawks need to keep their running game going.


Players To Watch:  

RB Frank Goodin-Goodin is coming off his best game so far this season, having run for 66 yards against Troy. He's capable of a 100-yard day if he gets untracked.

QB Kolton Browning-Browning has been a difference-maker in ULM's spread offense, leading the team with 236 yards rushing. He's also completing passes at a 62.4 percent clip, with nine touchdown passes against seven interceptions in 236 throws.

DE Ken Dorsey-Dorsey leads the Warhawks in tackles for losses with nine and is tied for the team lead in sacks with three. He also has been credited with five quarterback hurries and has forced and recovered a fumble.


Roster Report:  


 QB Kolton Browning has had some nagging issues with a knee problem that dates to high school but he is "fine," coach Todd Berry said.

 RB Frank Goodin is fourth on the career rushing list at ULM with 2,733 yards. Ahead are Joe Profit 2,818 yards, Roosevelt Potts at 3,061 and Calvin Dawson with 3,378.

 Freshman RB Jyruss Edwards is 13th in the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 28.2 yard per return. His long is 37 yards.

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