Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: It was the emptiest I've seen Tiger Stadium (not including 2020) since the Curley Hallman era as LSU defeated the UL-Monroe Warhawks 27-14 Saturday night to break a three game losing streak. It was an ugly victory, but the win puts LSU at 5-6 overall, setting up a playoff type situation next week against Texas A&M. The Tigers can finish the season Bowl eligible if they can upset the 16th ranked Aggies next Saturday in Death Valley.
The Tigers would win the toss but elect to defer, as ULM received the opening kickoff, going three and out quickly. The Tigers wasted little time going 64 yards in only five plays, scoring on a three yard touchdown run by Max Johnson to take a 7-0 lead.
The Warhawks responded with a nice drive, finding themselves with a 3rd and goal from the LSU one yard line. Neil Farrell tackled Abraham Alce for a one yard loss to set up a 4th and goal at the two. Terry Bowden would decide to go for it, and the Tigers kept the Warhawks out of the end zone as ULM quarterback Rhett Rodriguez completed a pass to Malik Jackson who was stopped at the one. The Warhawks drove 74 yards in 13 plays only to come away empty handed.
Starting the drive from their own one, LSU moved up the field into Warhawks' territory before the drive stalled at the
ULM 26 yard line. Cade York entered the game to attempt a 44 yard field goal, but missed as the kick hit the left upright and bounced away. The 1st quarter would end with LSU leading 7-0.
On the first play of the second quarter, Jay Ward intercepted Rodriguez and returned the ball 40 yards for a
touchdown. However, after officials reviewed the play, it was determined that he stepped out of bounds at the Warhawks' 33 yard line. The Tigers drove to the ULM nine yard line setting up a Cade York 27 yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead with 12:05 to go in the first half.
The Tigers wasted little time increasing the lead on their next possession. Max Johnson hit Malik Nabors deep down
the middle of the field on 3rd and six from the LSU 33. Nabors would outrun the ULM secondary for a 67 yard touchdown. 17-0 Tigers with 9:19 left on the clock.
Facing a 4th and four from their own 39 yard line, the Tigers lined up in punt formation. Ed Orgeron called a fake punt that back fired badly as Avery Atkins would throw an interception on the play to Josh Newton who returned the ball 22 yards down to the LSU 28 yard line. ULM took advantage of the LSU mistake as two plays later they would score on a Rhett Rodriguez 28 yard touchdown pass to Boogie Knight, cutting the Tigers' lead to 17-7 with 3:34 left in the first half.
The Tigers took a 17-7 lead into the halftime break, after a very lackluster first half performance.
LSU received the second half kickoff in a very empty Tiger Stadium. They moved the ball into ULM territory, at times only hearing the chant of "Defense! Defense!" coming from ULM fans in a very quiet Death Valley. The Tigers would come up empty on the drive as they failed to convert a 4th and three at the Warhawks' 14 yard line after driving 51 yards in 15 plays, eating up 7:17 off the clock.
UL-Monroe continued to play the Tigers tough late into the third quarter as the LSU offense played like they didn't have a pulse. But they would finally show signs of life with 5:38 left in the quarter. Max Johnson marched the LSU offense 82 yards in eight plays, finishing the drive with a 42 yard touchdown pass to Brian Thomas Jr. The score put the Tigers up 24-7 with 1:29 left in the 3rd.
The Warhawks would put together a drive late in the 4th quarter, going 58 yards in ten plays, scoring on a 27 yard touchdown pass from Chandler Rogers to Zach Rasmussen, cutting the LSU lead to ten, 24-14 with 3:20 remaining in the game. ULM attempted an onside kick, but Chris Hilton recovered for LSU at the Warhawks' 45 yard line.
LSU added a Cade York field goal with 46 seconds left, to secure the 27-14 victory.
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi