I don’t know how we keep getting turnovers. But it sure makes things different for us.” Chris Peterson, Boise State football coach
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The University of Louisiana at Monroe put up 500 total yards of total offense and got a solid effort from its defense in a 31-17 win over Middle Tennessee State on Saturday in the Sun Belt Conference opener for the Warhawks at Floyd Stadium.
Former Donaldsonville standout Jyruss Edwards finished with 87 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns to tie for fourth all-time in program history with 21 rushing touchdowns, and ULM quarterback Kolton Browning threw for 285 yards while going 26-for-38 with one touchdown and one interception.
Brent Leonard caught eight balls for 73 yards while Tavarese Maye finished with 77 yards on six catches. Je’Ron Hamm caught the touchdown from Browning.
The ULM (3-2, 1-0) defense allowed just 69 rushing yards and 307 total yards and forced three turnovers to stop Blue Raider (3-2, 1-1) scoring threats.
An early tipped pass from Browning led to an interception, and a career-long 44-yard field goal from Carlos Lopez gave the Blue Raiders a 3-0 lead with 8:36 left in the opening quarter.
ULM answered with an eight-play drive, which was capped off with a 16-yard touchdown carry from Edwards. The score gave the Warhawks a 7-3 lead with 5:09 left the in the first quarter.
R.J. Young forced and recovered a fumble to stop a Middle Tennessee drive, and the Warhawks capitalized as Justin Manton hit a 32-yard field goal to give ULM a 10-3 lead with 11: 42 remaining the second quarter.
Browning hit Hamm on a 3-yard touchdown pass to extend ULM’s advantage to 17-3 with 3:40 left in the half. The 14-play, 90-yard drive lasted 5:27.
At halftime, ULM led 17-3 lead behind 306 total yards and 14 first downs. MTSU had 127 total yards and seven first downs.
The Warhawks opened the second half with a methodical, 10-play 75-yard drive, and extended the lead with a 5-yard touchdown run by Edwards for a 24-3 lead with 10:33 left in the third quarter.
The Blue Raiders capped a five-play, 54-yard drive with an 8-yard rushing touchdown from Benny Cunningham. The score cut ULM’s lead to 24-10 with 5:29 left in the third quarter.
Following a Rob’Donovan Lewis fumble recovery forced by Cordero Smith, ULM put together another scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Centarius Donald. After the score, ULM led 31-10 with 1:04 left in the third quarter.
MTSU answered with a Cunningham 1-yard touchdown run to finish off a seven-play, 63-yard drive.