The 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational presented by STAT BOX STORIES continues with the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, which matches up the Ohio Bobcats (8-4, 4-4 MAC) and Louisiana-Monroe (8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt). STAT BOX STORIES owner Brian Parker took control of the surprising Sun Belt squad with the Warhawks on the side of their helmets hoping to end the season with a victory in the program’s first-ever Bowl Game appearance.
Warhawks pull away in second quarter, top Ohio to earn first Bowl Game Victory
Shreveport, L.A. – Playing near their home campus in their first-ever Bowl Game appearance, the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe could have wilted on a national stage and settled for the experience of postseason play. Instead, they used 17-point performances in the second and third quarters to turn a one-point deficit early in the second quarter into an insurmountable lead on their way to a 51-17 win.
Louisiana-Monroe started off strong, converting a field goal on their first possession and a 32-yard touchdown pass on their second possession. Ohio cut the deficit to 10-7 to end the first quarter before the Warhawks added a field goal to begin the second quarter. A quick Bobcats drive on their ensuing possession gave Ohio a 14-13 lead, their first and last of the game.
With 1:16 remaining in the first half, ULM scored on a 9-yard pass to go up 20-14. Poor clock management by the Bobcats led to a quick three-and-out on their next possession and left the Warhawks enough time for a 63-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 13 points. Ohio managed to get into field goal range and narrow the lead to 10 points as the half expired, but the game’s momentum had swung drastically.
Louisiana-Monroe kicked a 49-yard field goal early in the third quarter to go up 30-17 before the next game-changing event truly put the game out of Ohio’s grasp. QB #4 was sacked hard and forced to leave the game with broken ribs, bringing QB #15 into the game to try and lead the comeback. With 3:03 left in the quarter, a promising drive for Ohio ended with a 79-yard interception return by the Warhawks CB #33, extending the lead to 20 points. As the third quarter was drawing to a close, Ohio QB #15 made another poor decision that led to a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown by CB #9.
A 10-yard pass just over halfway through the fourth quarter finalized the scoring with another 7 points on the board for Louisiana-Monroe, giving the Warhawks their final tally of 51.
One unsung hero for the game was Ohio WR #81, whose 7 catches went for a total of 170 yards and a touchdown. Despite that strong individual performance, the Bobcats were unable to flourish on offense after the loss of their starting quarterback, with QB #15 completing only 4 of 8 attempts including the two
interceptions returned for Louisiana-Monroe touchdowns.
Player of the Game: Louisiana-Monroe QB #15, who completed 20 of 31 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns. Despite throwing three interceptions, he still managed a 181.7 quarterback rating.
It was over when… Ohio QB #4 exited the game with broken ribs early in the third quarter. His replacement, QB #15, threw two interceptions returned for touchdowns to truly put the game out of reach for the Bobcats.
Game Ball goes to… Louisiana-Monroe TE #80, who received a direct snap on 4th-and-2 on the ULM 18-yard-line in the first quarter and rushed 22 yards for a first down. A failed conversion would have given Ohio prime field position and changed the game.
Stat of the Game: 1-for-10. Ohio only successfully converted one of their ten 3rd Down situations, keeping them from extending drives and putting more points on the board.
Statistical Tidbits: The two teams ran very balanced offenses, with Ohio attempting 32 rushes to 30 passes and ULM attempting 30 rushes to 31 passes. Both teams completed 20 passes, but the Warhawks scored 4 passing touchdowns to Ohio’s one. … Both teams rushed for over 100 yards in the game, but only the Bobcats had a score on the ground. … Each team attempted a 4th Down conversion, and in both occurrences the try was converted for a new first down. … Ohio ran up 125 yards on kickoff returns and out-gained the Warhawks in total yards, 572-551, despite the lopsided final score. … Ohio punted four times, while Louisiana-Monroe did not punt at all in the game. … The Warhawks converted over 50% of their 3rd Down conversion attempts, while the Bobcats conversion percentage was 10%. … Ohio was penalized 8 times for 71 yards, while Louisiana-Monroe took 4 penalties for 26 yards.