Southern Miss stunned by ULM, 21-20

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (USM Athletics) - The last time Southern Miss lost a football game to Louisiana-Monroe, the school was known as Northeast Louisiana, the athletic mascot was the Indians and Brett Favre was a freshman quarterback from someplace called The Kiln.

That November afternoon in 1987 stood as the only time the Golden Eagles had dropped a game to that Louisiana opponent.

Until Saturday.

Southern Miss quarterback Jack Abraham threw his second interception with 27 seconds to play as the Golden Eagles dropped a 21-20 decision to the Warhawks before 19,579 at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

Southern Miss (1-1) outgained Louisiana-Monroe (2-0) Saturday and possessed the ball for nearly 10 minutes longer than the Warhawks.

But two interceptions, two lost fumbles and two missed field goals led to the loss.

"The statistics don't look too bad, but we struggled offensively," Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson said. "We didn't run the ball well, ain't no doubt about it. That's about an accurate of statement as you can.

"Again, we gotta be better than that. The bottom line is that they stuffed our run game, and it's something as coaches and players that we better come to work next week. We better get better there for sure."

Abraham completed 31-of-46 passes for 378 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but also threw the first two interceptions of his collegiate career. Facing consistent pressure, Abraham also lost two fumbles after being sacked.

"It's always a combination," Hopson said. "He's starting to have his best game, and offensively, he got hit from behind. He got sacked a couple times and the bottom line, is it's never one man's fault.

"The quarterback always gets too much of the glory and too much of the blame."

Southern Miss took a 7-0 lead on the first play of the game on a shovel pass that Jaylond Adams took 75 yards for his first touchdown of the season.

ULM tied the score when defensive tackle Mason Husmann forced a fumble while sacking Abraham, with defensive end Sam Miller recovering in the end zone.

After Abraham was intercepted on a lazy lob attempt down the sideline, ULM quarterback Caleb Evans found slot receiver Marcus Green with a 49-yard touchdown pass and a 14-10 lead.

Southern Miss answered, first with Parker Shaunfield's 42-yard field goal and followed by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Abraham to Quez Watkins for a 17-14 halftime lead.

It didn't last. On the first possession of the second half, Austin Vaughn broke a 56-yard run, setting up Evans' 4-yard scoring pass to Green that gave the Warhawks the lead for good.

Shaunfield hit a 47-yarder with less than seven minutes left in the third quarter. But that would be the last of the scoring for either team.
Southern Miss struggled to mount an effective running game, netting just 58 yards on 34 attempts. Tez Parks ran for 46 yards on 19 carries and T'Rod Daniels went for 32 yards on eight carries.

Watkins grabbed 11 passes for 81 yards and a score, while Adams turned in a career night with eight catches for 158 yards.