Around the Sun Belt
LOUISIANA-MONROE INSIDE SLANT
Previous Indians teams could have put it in the loss column. The 2004 version, though, refused to wilt after falling behind 17-0 at home last week to future Sun Belt member Florida International. UL-Monroe shrugged aside the early deficit by scoring 21 unanswered points en route to a 28-20 homecoming victory. It is the first time in five years the Indians have won back-to-back games.
"It was a great feeling," linebacker John Winchester told the Monroe News-Star. "For five years since I've been here, we haven't had a winning streak." Junior quarterback Steven Jyles ignited the offense and showed his playmaking ability. He threw for more than 300 yards and two TDs and rushed for 45 yards and a score.
"When Steven gets involved leading this football team and he takes control of the game running or passing, this is a better football team," second-year coach Charlie Weatherbie told the News-Star. "They guys we expected to step up in the game, they stepped up in the game." ULM (2-4, 1-1) won just one game last season but is beginning to show signs of improvement under Weatherbie, who has a history of turning struggling programs around.
A stiffer test awaits this week at Florida Atlantic, which has already beaten Sun Belt members North Texas and Middle Tennessee on the road.
GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Steven Jyles ? The junior threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 45 yards and a score in ULM's 28-20 victory over Florida International last week.
KEEP AN EYE ON: DB Chaz Williams ? The redshirt freshman had a huge game for ULM last week, recording eight tackles, forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble and recording a sack. His fumble return went for a touchdown that sealed the victory.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Our fans were telling us, 'We need a win.' We were telling them, 'We need a win too.'" ? ULM junior QB Steven Jyles, in the Monroe News-Star, after last week's 28-20 victory over Florida International.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The defense, which returned nine starters, is starting to play more consistently and making opportune plays. Offensively, the Indians have been inconsistent but last week's success on that side of the ball should be a confidence booster.
STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Special teams play is something coach Charlie Weatherbie stresses, and he certainly won't like a blocked punt going for a touchdown last week against Florida International. The run defense, which is allowing more than 180 yards a game, needs to improve.
ROSTER REPORT: Freshman DT Micah Boudreaux won his appeal to the NCAA and was declared eligible to play this season. … WR Drouzon Quillen, who missed last season with an ACL tear, is back and is averaging more than 20 yards a catch.. … Senior OL Josh Wade was awarded another year of eligibility. He missed last season because he was attacked in an act of random violence and suffered a skull fracture. He is starting at offensive guard.
Sun Belt Standings Conference (Overall) W L (W L)
New Mexico State ????????..2-1.? 2-4
North Texas ????????…???2-0 ?.2-4
Arkansas State ?????????.?2-1 ?.2-5
Louisiana-Monroe ??????.?..?1-1 ?.2-4
Troy????????????…………. 1-2 ?.3-3
Louisiana-Lafayette ??????.?.1-2 ?.3-4
Middle Tennessee ?????.??…1-2 ?.2-4
Idaho ????????????……….1-2.? 2-5
Utah State ??????????..??1-2 ?.2-5
ULM QB found nine different receivers
October 18, 2004
Dan Currier/The News-Star
ULM quarterback Steven Jyles, left, with center Hayden Wadsworth, will try to give the Indians a third straight win this weekend at Florida Atlantic.Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Steven Jyles handled the football like a birthday cake on Saturday while directing a 28-20 win over Florida International.
Everybody got a piece.
In throwing for 303 yards at Malone Stadium, Jyles distributed passes to nine different receivers. Diversifying the offense helped the Indians win their second straight game for the first time since 1999 while snapping a six-game home losing streak.
"We've been intending to do that since the season started," said Jyles, who completed 25-of-41 attempts with one interception. "You have to get the ball in all the guys' hands. You can't be one-dimensional. You have to attack with everybody."
Spreading the offense around like frosting, Jyles completed throws to six different wide receivers, one tight end and two running backs.
Wide receiver Drouzon Quillen grabbed a big slice with 104 yards on three catches. He provided the big chunk with a 76-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the second half to cut FIU's lead to 17-14. The pass play is tied for the 11th longest scoring catch in team history.
"We came out sluggish but we picked it up," Quillen said. "But Jyles is athletic, man. He's a real quarterback."
Receiver Josh Hudnall made a career-high five catches for 31 yards. Running back Kevin Payne had five catches for 30 yards. Receiver Jason Deml made four catches for 52 yards including a 30-yarder on the second touchdown drive. Floyd Smith had two catches but one was a 26-yarder for a touchdown.
"I think it really gave our receiving corps a lot of confidence knowing they could get the ball," Jyles said after his third career 300-yard passing game. "They're all starting to run harder and they're all starting to work more. They're not thinking the ball is going a certain place, because anybody can get the ball."
Jyles continued to pace the running game by netting 45 yards and a 16-yard touchdown rush on 13 attempts. Jyles led a 14-play, 80-yard drive late in the second quarter to help close the halftime gap to 17-7. Jyles rushed for 45 yards on five carries on the important march. The Indians converted first downs on three third-down chances on the drive that took five minutes, nine seconds off the clock.
"Scoring a touchdown right before half gave us some momentum going in at halftime," ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie said.
UNBRIDLED ENTHUSIASM: Redshirt freshman cornerback Chaz Williams made one of the game's biggest plays when he forced a fumble and returned the ball 15 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to preserve ULM's win.
"Chazman's play when he hits the quarterback, knocks the ball loose and scores was a big, big play," Weatherbie said.
Williams also made one of the game's bonehead plays when he tossed the ball into the stands. ULM was penalized 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff, putting undue pressure on the defense at a time when the outcome was still in doubt.
"I was disappointed that we threw the ball up in the stands," Weatherbie said. "That could cost us a game. But I was proud of the way that he came in on the quarterback's weak side, hit him in the back and knocked the ball loose. It was a great play but we'll learn from that and not let that happen again."
UNDEFEATED FAU UP NEXT: The Indians will travel next weekend to play future Sun Belt member Florida Atlantic in a designated conference game.
Coached by the legendary Howard Schnellenberger, the Owls (5-0) are undefeated after winning 39-24 at Northern Colorado. FAU, playing its fourth year of football, is a provisional Division I-A member this season. Like FIU, FAU will join the Sun Belt for football next season.
FAU has impressive wins this season. The Owls opened with a victory at Hawaii and have also knocked off three-time league champion North Texas in Denton, Texas.
Quarterback Jared Allen threw for a touchdown and ran for a second Saturday in its 10th straight road win. FAU plays its first home game of the season at Lockhart Stadium against ULM next week after playing all of its games on the road this season.
"It's about time," tight end Anthony Crissinger-Hill told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Hopefully there is not a hurricane this week. [It's] going to be exciting to see our home fans."
Allen was 16-for-26, passing for 255 yards for Florida Atlantic. Damon Parker ran for 82 yards and a touchdown, and the Owls' special teams blocked a field goal and a punt.
FAU held Northern Colorado to 33 rushing yards in the game, a record for the Owls' defense.
ARROWHEADS: Three ULM tailbacks combined for just 29 yards on 20 attempts. Punter Joel Stelly had the longest run of the day for ULM with 24 yards on a fake punt. … ULM captains for the game were linebacker John Winchester, safety Damien Richard and center Hayden Wadsworth … The Indians started three true freshmen on the offensive line - Patrick Avinger lost his redshirt status and made his first career start at guard in place of Alandee Brown. Freshmen right tackle Kyle Cunningham and left guard Adam Hill have started all six games. … Cornerback Cash Mouton's interception was his first since 2002 against Idaho. … The Indians forced three FIU turnovers to win the turnover battle 3-1.
Should be a good game from their standpoint. They will be hyped. I think we will look at that FIU game comeback as extra motovation.
Oct. 18, 2004
Quarterback Steven Jyles, who led the University of Louisiana at Monroe's Indians to their second straight victory Saturday, Monday was named the Sun Belt Conference's "Offensive Player of the Week."
Jyles accounted for 348 yards and all three of ULM's offensive touchdowns in the 28-20 come-from-behind victory over Florida International in Saturday's homecoming game in Malone Stadium. The junior from Baton Rouge connected on 25 of 41 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns while running 13 times for 45 yards and another score.
"Steven has really taken charge of this football team in the last couple of weeks," said ULM Coach Charlie Weatherbie. "I'll tell you and he will tell you that he couldn't have done it without all the help of his blockers and receivers. But the quarterback has to take the leadership role and I'm excited about how far Steven has come as a team leader this fall and especially these last two weeks."
Jyles is the second Indian in as many weeks to win a Sun Belt "Player of the Week" award. Punter Joel Stelly was the special teams POW last week after ULM's 16-14 victory over Idaho.
A former star at Glen Oaks High School, Jyles rallied the Indians from a 17-0 deficit. He started the comeback by accounting for all but five of the 80 yards in a 14-play drive late in the second quarter, completing five of seven passes for 30 yards and running five times for 45 yards. He ran the final 16 yards for the touchdown.
Then on the first scrimmage play of the second half, the Indian quarterback connected with wide receiver Drouzon Quillen for a 76-yard touchdown pass that pulled the Indians to within three points of FIU, 17-14. Later in the third quarter, he threw a 26-yard scoring pass to Floyd Smith to put ULM ahead for good, 21-17.
Jyles' Sun Belt award is the second of his career. He won as a freshman in 2002 after throwing for 470 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-48 victory over Utah State.
With his 348 yards Saturday, Jyles improved his career total offense yardage to 6,075 yards, only 17 yards behind Green Bay Packer quarterback Doug Pederson, who is third on ULM's career total offense list with 6,092 yards. John Holman leads with 7,802 yards and Raymond Philyaw is second with 7,019.
Jyles' touchdown responsibility total is now 45 (37 passing, eight rushing), only 12 behind Philyaw's No. 1 career total of 57.
I like FAU on Saturday, but I don't expect them to cover the spread. Maybe 10 points, but 14 is a lot. Florida State is only favored against Wake Forest by 13.5 points.
Northen Colorado could have been worse last week. We pulled the dogs off in the 4th qtr.
As for the spread, I don't know about 14pts for this one. They will be hungry to win this conference game. Playing till the last snap, I'm sure.