Louisiana—Monroe’s senior safety Isaiah Newsome became the first player in Sun Belt Conference history to return two interceptions for a touchdown Saturday as the Warhawks defeated the Bobcats 21–14.
Newsome’s first interception came mid-way through the first quarter for 71 yards. His second gave the Warhawks a 14–0 lead with 11:07 minutes left in the third quarter. The 146 intercepted yards Newsome gained is the most in Sun Belt history.
“Coach challenged us all week to be better in coverage,” Newsome said. “On the first one I made a good read. They ran the slant, and I snuck in front and picked it. On the second one we were in a cover three, and I filled the roll out, stuck my hand out there and poof, and got it.”
Sophomore running back Robert Lowe rushed for a career high 145 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, and his longest rush on the night was 22 yards. Lowe now has six touchdowns on the season and recorded his third game of more than 100 yards rushing.
“They (Louisiana—Monroe) do a lot of things on defense,” Lowe said. “They blitz a lot from different holes. I was just finding holes, and I give that credit to the line because they blocked so well. They were giving me an opportunity to get first downs.”
After junior punter Will Johnson’s kick to the opposition’s 1-yard line in the third quarter, Warhawks sophomore quarterback Brayle Brown threw an interception while scrambling outside of the pocket. Junior linebacker David Mayo dove for the ball for his third interception for the season. Mayo’s interception gave the Bobcats possession on the 8-yard line. Mayo registered a game-high of 11 tackles.
After Jones’s second interception was returned for a touchdown, senior quarterback Tyler Arndt replaced him with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
“I don’t have that answer for you on how we’ll move forward,” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “Tyler Jones is going to be a great quarterback, he just got a big learning curve right now. He got a couple of hard lessons tonight. For the most part, Tyler Arndt, he came in and got some points on the board—to his credit he came off the bench and tied us up at least.”
With the score tied at 14–14, senior safety Aaron Matthews gave Brown his second interception of the night and ran it back 35 yards to the Texas State 48-yard line.
“I feel like it gave us a shot,” Matthews said. “College football is a tough game. You can’t depend on one play. You have to fight every play. That pick gave us a shot. You have to learn to execute on both sides of the ball and defense has to keep them from driving down the field and offense has to score.”
Subsequently, senior wide receiver Andy Erickson’s second personal misconduct resulted in a disqualification and pushed the Bobcats out of field goal range. A deep slant route, which was incomplete to junior wide receiver Ben Ijah, resulted in Texas State failing to convert for a score off the turnover.
With 2:56 remaining in the game, the Warhawks conducted a 10-play drive for 75 yards. Louisiana—Monroe capped the drive by a 10-yard touchdown from junior running back Centarius Donald.
The defense held the Warhawks’ offense 2–15 on third down conversions. The two third down conversions came on the last Louisiana-Monroe drive. The 192 yards of total offense the Warhawks gained marks the lowest offensive yards the Bobcats have allowed all season.
Senior transfer D.J. Yendrey made his first appearance for the Bobcats this season. Yendrey recorded three tackles.