One of the more interesting stories in college football for the month of September has to be the UL-Monroe Warhawks beginning their season with two road games against the SEC. Last week the Warhawks began their season in Little Rock (the game was played at War Memorial Stadium) against the Arkansas Razorbacks and then this past weekend they faced off against the Auburn Tigers in Auburn.
The fact that the Warhawks finished 1-1 was more than anybody would have expected, but the fact that they played close in both games came as a surprise.
Against the Razorbacks, the Warhawks gave their season its major highlight. With the help of many big and brutal hits to Razorback quarter Tyler Wilson, the Warhawks didn’t have to face Wilson for the entire second half. This helped make a comeback that much easier with the Razorbacks’ offense sputtering without Wilson. The Warhawks used that momentum and gradually wore down the Razorback defense while erasing a 28-7 deficit and sending the game into overtime.
This game will be seared into the minds of Razorback fans through the rest of this season as the Warhawks tied the game in the final minute of regulation and then after forcing the Razorbacks to just a field-goal, Warhawks quarterback Kolton Browning ran in from sixteen yards to seal the upset. The win knocked the Razorbacks from the top-ten to being out of the top-25 rankings while giving the Warhawks plenty of positive attention.
Unlike many teams who achieve such an upset, the Warhawks didn’t slow down when they met their next opponent. On the road against the Tigers, the Warhawks did end up facing a great deal of deja vu in another wild game.
Once again the Warhawks had to overcome a halftime deficit (this time only fourteen points), and they did. Once again the Warhawks needed a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime (this time with a little over a minute left), and they did it. But that’s where the good times stopped rolling for the Warhawks.
The Warhawks couldn’t put the ball into the end-zone during their possession of overtime, but also couldn’t put points on the board as kicker Justin Manton missed a 37-yard field-goal. The Warhawks couldn’t force a turnover and when Tigers kicker Cody Parkey attempted a 35-yard kick for the win, his went through to complete a 31-28 Tigers victory and send the Warhawks to 1-1 after their wild ride through the SEC.
This is a story that is significant only for the month of September. It will be eventually lost among all of the storylines, drama, and upsets that encompass conference play in college football. But for right now, it is one worth remembering because it is the story of a team, like many others, that took on the challenge of multiple teams from a major conference to start the season.
Generally, this is done just for the money that playing such teams would provide for the lower school. But this lower school also got a win, a near-win, and a little national attention out of the deal.