- David Helman, Reporter, RecruitingNation
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Louisiana-Monroe pulled out the big guns against an SEC West foe for the second straight weekend and ULM quarterback Kolton Browning pushed himself further into the national consciousness with a big effort against Auburn on Saturday. But it wasn't enough.
The Warhawks gave Auburn everything it could handle just one week after knocking off No. 8 Arkansas. But while ULM toppled the Razorbacks in overtime last weekend, the extra period wasn't so kind this time around as the Tigers won 31-28.
Here's a quick look at the proceedings from Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.
It was over when: Auburn kicker Cody Parkey connected on a 35-yard field goal in the bottom half of the first overtime period to give Auburn the 31-28 win. ULM kicker Justin Manton had missed a 37-yard attempt of his own just moments before, meaning the Tigers only needed a field goal to secure the win.
Game ball goes to: Browning still gets the game ball in a losing effort, as he once again put his team on his back in a hostile SEC environment. The junior quarterback completed 28-of-44 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns in regulation. He didn't lead the Warhawks in rushing this week, but he did contribute 58 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Stat of the game: The Warhawks trailed Auburn by two possessions for roughly 20 minutes in the second half. It looked like the Tigers would pull away when they scored to make it 28-14 just five minutes into the third quarter. But ULM managed to hang around for 20 minutes of game time, and Browning led two scoring drives in the final six minutes of regulation to force overtime.
Second guessing: Manton was a mediocre 6-of-14 for his career before he lined up to kick on fourth-and-5 in overtime. The Warhawks were an impressive 3-of-4 on fourth down during regulation, and they won last week's game against Arkansas on a fourth-down conversion. Going for it might have been the better idea.
What it means: Auburn avoids its first 0-3 start since 1950, which will come as a big relief to its fans and its coaching staff. But it has been a rocky start to 2012 for the Tigers, and hosting No. 3 LSU next week after nearly losing to ULM can't be a comforting prospect. The Warhawks took two SEC powerhouses to overtime in consecutive weekends, and they collected a cool $2 million in the process. They'll attempt to recreate the same magic against Baylor next Friday.
1dDavid Ching and Edward Aschoff
3dESPN Stats & Information