aubiefifty 13,012 Posted November 15, 2017 Share Posted November 15, 2017 thenewsstar.com High-scoring ULM preps for red-hot Auburn Adam Hunsucker, email@example.com 4-5 minutes CLOSE ULM's cancelled game with Florida State was rescheduled for December 2. Adam Hunsucker/The News-Star ULM's offense ranks first in the Sun Belt Conference in total offense (475.1 ypg) and second in scoring offense (37 ppg)(Photo: ULM Photo Services) The bye week. A double-edged sort for any football coach. Well, any football coach but Matt Viator. The timing didn’t seem ideal considering ULM was coming off an upset of defending Sun Belt Conference co-champion Appalachian State. Viator couldn’t have been happier for a Saturday off after playing eight straight games. “Sometimes I think bye weeks are overrated but we needed this one,” Viator said. “When you look at our injury situation, we’ve got to get ahold of that for sure. “I look back and kick myself sometimes because maybe I should have backed off to keep us fresher. We haven’t cut back any at practice, but I do think we’re getting better because of it.” Injuries sidelined defensive tackle Derion Ford, linebacker David Griffith, running back Ben Luckett and tight end Josh Pederson in a five-play sequence against Appalachian State. Their availability at Auburn Saturday is to be determined. Ford and Luckett practiced on Sunday night, while Griffith and Pederson were “limited,” per Viator. Marcus Green, ULM’s top offensive threat and a special teams table-setter, remains tied for the Division 1/FBS lead with three kickoff-return touchdowns. In addition to Green’s 95-yard return for a touchdown in the second quarter, wide receiver Brandius Batiste contributed to the Appalachian State upset with a 36-yard kick return. ULM ranks 14th nationally in kickoff returns. “We were probably going to play for overtime,” Viator said. “Once Brandius hit it out there, I told (offensive coordinator Matt) Kubik, ‘Let’s take a shot.’” Quarterback Caleb Evans found RJ Turner on the run for a 50-yard touchdown three plays later with 23 seconds to play. ULM topped the 50-point plateau for the third time this season against Appalachian State, which hasn’t been done since 1992. The Warhawks lead the Sun Belt in total offense (475.1 yards per game) and sit at second place in scoring (37 points per game), a figure that ranks 19th in the country. The team slotted one spot ahead nationally in scoring offense is ULM’s opponent on Saturday -- the Auburn Tigers. Auburn ran for 237 yards, averaged 6.9 yards per play and sacked Georgia, then ranked No. 2 in the Amway USA Today Coaches Poll, in a head-turning 40-17 win last Saturday. Viator said Auburn was one of the teams he studied the most during the final years of his McNeese State tenure. “They had success with Cam Newton and Nick Marshall and we had a like quarterback in Daniel Sams,” Viator said. “They aren’t quiet as quarterback-run heavy but they’re taking more shots down the field. “This is an opportunity for our kids and our program to play on one of the biggest stages, but without a doubt it’s a huge challenge.” Viator anticipated FSU reschedule Viator wasn’t surprised when ULM announced that its matchup with Florida State had been rescheduled for Dec. 2. The Warhawks were scheduled to travel to Doak Campbell Stadium in September, but the game was canceled due to Hurricane Irma. “(ULM athletic director Nick) Floyd has kept me in the loop on it and we were just waiting on the confirmation,” Viator said. “It was something we needed to happen and we were just waiting on the confirmation from them.” ULM will receive a $1.35 million payout for playing Florida State. The NCAA contact period in recruiting begins the Sunday before the game on Nov. 26. “I made recruiting schedules a month or two ago planning on it,” Viator said. “Recruiting becomes live that week and we planned for it.” Follow Adam on Twitter @adam_hunsucker Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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