MONROE, La. – The Grambling State University Tigers had its chances but came up short in a 28-14 loss to the University of Louisiana at Monroe on Saturday evening before a Malone Stadium record crowd of 30,101 fans.
The Warhawks (4-6), a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision, immediately jumped out on top as they scored on a 5-play, 54-yard drive at the 12:44 mark of the first quarter. On the play, ULM running back Calvin Dawson found a cushion on the left side of the Tiger defense en route to a 21-yard touchdown. The ensuing PAT was good by Cole Wilson as ULM led 7-0.
GSU’s (8-2) opening possession was a stark contrast of ULM’s drive as quarterback Brandon Landers was intercepted by ULM’s James Truxillo. However, the Tiger defense made up for the early setback as defensive back DeMichael Dizer intercepted ULM’s Kinsmon Lancaster and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown. Tim Manuel’s PAT was good as they tied the contest at 7-all with 10:24 left in the first quarter.
Once again, the Tiger defense made its presence felt on the ensuing possession as defensive end Christian Anthony forced a Lancaster fumble that was recovered by Kendal Robinson at ULM’s 36. However, the next offensive series for GSU came to a grinding halt as ULM stopped GSU on 4th-and-1 at its 16.
After alternating possessions, GSU defensive lineman Melvin Matthews intercepted a Lancaster pass at GSU’s 22. Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t last long as GSU went three-and-out on the following series which eventually led to a ULM touchdown by Frank Goodin with 5:53 remaining in the second quarter.
With ULM holding a 14-7 lead, the Warhawks turned up the pressure and recorded back-to-back sacks to force GSU into a long yardage situation on the drive. GSU was unsuccessful on third down and was forced to punt for the third time in the quarter. After a 40-yard punt by Manuel, ULM went into its two-minute offense to close out the half and came up big as the Warhawks found the endzone with 29 seconds left after Lancaster connected with tight end Zeek Zacherie. The ensuing PAT was successful by Wilson as ULM went into the half up 21-7.
On GSU’s second drive of the half, the Tiger offense struck with its first big play of the contest when Landers found wide receiver Nick Lewis for a 63-yard touchdown reception. Manuel’s PAT was successful as GSU made it a one possession game at 21-14. With the GSU crowd back in the contest, the Tigers held ULM to another three-and-out and drove all the way to their 13 after a 19-yard punt return by Reginald Jackson. ULM’s defense held ground and forced GSU into a field goal situation which turned out to be unsuccessful as the Warhawks blocked Manuel’s 35-yard field goal attempt. After the block, ULM moved ahead 27-14 at the 3:30 mark of the third quarter when Dawson scored from 10 yards out on a rush. Wilson nailed the PAT to move ULM ahead by two touchdowns.
From that point, the contest went back-and-forth as GSU had several opportunities to close the gap but continued to come up short as ULM managed to hand GSU its second loss of the 2007 campaign.
For the game, ULM netted a total of 390 (212 R, 178 P) offensive yards while GSU finished with 165 (169 P, -4 R) yards. GSU wideout Reggie Jackson led the way with 37 yards on six receptions while linebacker Keefe Hall finished with 12 tackles.
GSU will have next week off before returning to action on Saturday, Nov. 24 for its annual meeting with Southern in the 34th edition of State Farm Bayou Classic at 1 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome.