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November 26, 2010

Warhawks Inside Slant

Warhawks Inside Slant
It couldn't be any plainer for ULM this week against UL-Lafayette.

Beat the struggling Cajuns to even the Warhawks' record at 6-6 and give them postseason eligibility. With several conferences coming up short in bowl-eligible teams, that might mean a bid would be forthcoming.

While acknowledging the reward that could come to his team, coach Todd Berry sees other motivational factors for his young Warhawks.

"This should be a big game just because it's really the next game," Berry said. "If you really love playing the game, it really doesn't make any difference what all the peripheral things are.  The most important thing is just love playing the next one. I'd like out football team to get to that point to where we play well regardless of who we're playing or what the other peripheral motivations are."

The fact the game also is an instate rivalry and that it's Senior Day for the Warhawks also are incentives.

The Cajuns (2-9) are looking to end a seven-game losing streak and perhaps save the job of coach Rickey Bustle.

And the Warhawks are trying to finish above .500 in the conference for a second consecutive season. They are 4-3 and will match last year's 5-3 mark with a victory.

But still, bowl talk overshadows pretty much everything else. The Warhawks, who began playing at the FBS level in 1994, have never played in a bowl.



 Coach Todd Berry is in his first season, but he has made enough of an impression that he has earned a contract extension. Athletic director Bobby Staub made the announcement two days before the Warhawks beat North Texas that Berry's contract would run through the 2014 season, an extension of one year.

 ULM has won five of the last eight games against UL-Lafayette, but two of the three losses have come in the last two years.

 The Warhawks could be close to getting their names on the back of their jerseys again. They were taken off in 2009, and the policy was continued in 2010 with Berry saying the names would be returned when the Warhawks receive a bowl bid. A win over the Cajuns and that could happen.


Series History:   ULM leads UL-Lafayette, 23-22 (last meeting, 2009, 21-17, UL-Lafayette).

Scouting The Offense:   With tough outings at Auburn and LSU, the Warhawks have seen their production dip to 347.1 yards per game for the season, but they ripped North Texas for 480 yards in their last game. Against Sun Belt opponents, they are averaging 401 yards per game, and have been over the 400-yard mark four times. QB Kolton Browning is third in the league with 217.1 yards passing per game, and is fourth in passing efficiency.


Scouting The Defense:   The Warhawks have had their ups and downs defensively, yielding more than 450 yards in total offense to Sun Belt opponents Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee, and Florida International (all losses), but holding Florida Atlantic and Troy under 300, and North Texas to 325. They held LSU to 251 yards in a 51-0 loss. Teams are rushing for 169.2 yards per game against ULM, which ranks fourth in the Sun Belt.


Quote To Note: "We've certainly addressed the bowl possibilities with our players. That would be very naive of us to not talk about that."

-Coach Todd Berry, on what is on the line for his team in the regular-season finale.


This Week's Game: UL-Lafayette at ULM, Nov. 27-The Cajuns arrive having lost last seven in a row to fall to 2-9. They are 2-5 in Sun Belt play and face the possibility of finishing last if they lose and Western Kentucky manages to beat Troy. A victory gets them at least a share of seventh place with North Texas, which has finished its conference slate at 3-5.

Keys To The Game:   Hang tough for 60 minutes. The Cajuns have started fast in most of their games, but have had problems finishing. The Warhawks need to rattle Cajun QB Blaine Gautier, who has thrown six interceptions in 89 passes.


Players To Watch:  

DE Ken Dorsey-Dorsey leads the Warhawks with five sacks and is third in the Sun Belt in tackles for losses with 13 among his 49 tackles.

WR Luther Ambrose-Ambrose is QB Kolton Browning's favorite target with 61 catches for 723 yards and six touchdowns.

WR Tavarese Maye-Maye is the second-leading receiver for the Warhawks with 40 receptions for 467 yards, and also has nine carries for 85 yards and a touchdown.


Roster Report:  


 QB Kolton Browning has a sore ankle but is expected to be close to 100 percent against the Cajuns.

 Senior RB Frank Goodin is third on ULM's all-time rushing list with 2,849 yards, 172 yards shy of No. 2 Roosevelt Potts, who had 3,061. Goodin's 75 yards against North Texas was his best output this season.



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