Stunning upsets come in a variety of flavors, but Louisiana-Monroe’s 34-31 victory over Arkansas Saturday night was one of the more unique.
Like me, chances are you were watching one of the evening’s higher-profile tilts. The game’s score popped up on the crawl at the bottom of your screen every once in a while, suggesting a comfortable – if not a bit lethargic – win for the Razorbacks. If you’re into that kind of thing, ULM covering the 30.5-point spread wouldn’t have been a surprise, seeing as the Hogs had Alabama on deck.
Unless you are someone who might care more than your average fan about one of the two teams involved, you probably weren’t paying attention when the Warhawks cut the deficit to 14 late in the third quarter.
When ULM scored again early in the fourth quarter to cut Arkansas’ lead to just 7 points, that probably changed. You might have clicked over to find that Tyler Wilson, Arkansas’ star quarterback, was lost for the game. You also might have discovered that someone named Kolton Browning (42-68, 412 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT), Wilson’s far less heralded counterpart on the other side of the field, was dealing from the pocket.
And when Monroe scored with 47 ticks left on a 23-yard toss from Browning to Brent Leonard to tie the game, you probably realized that a Warhawks win had become fait accompli.
Oh sure, there would be an overtime with the implicit drama of extra football. ULM didn’t make it easy, either, following a field goal by Arkansas on the Hogs’ first possession of OT. Three pathetic play calls led to a telling 4th down dilemma for the head Warhawk, Todd Berry, whose eventual decision to play for the win proved to be the decisive moment in the game.
Browning scrambled 16 yards to paydirt, giving ULM one of the most historic wins in program history. Meanwhile, after a boring start to the season, you remembered how great it is to have college football back in your life.