When University of Louisiana-Monroe tight end Harley Scioneaux made what has been described as a one-handed “circus” catch for a touchdown against Auburn last month, he knew it was pretty special.
Not only was the diving, one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone with 6:15 remaining on the second touchdown of the day for the LaPlace native and St. Charles Catholic graduate, it helped the Warhawks send the game into overtime. They would eventually lose on a 35-yard Auburn field goal in the overtime period.
But Scioneaux said he didn’t know just how special it was until later that night when his cell phone began to explode with text messages and phone calls from friends and family telling him that video of his spectacular grab had made ESPN’s Top 10 plays of the day, and he was getting props from around the country.
“Oh, it was a dream come true,” Scioneaux said. “To make a catch like that in a game like that in a venue like that at Auburn. It was great.”
It was a special moment in what is turning out to be a special season for the Warhawks.
ULM (6-2) is unbeaten Sun Belt Conference play as it heads into Saturday’s rivalry game against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. The nationally televised game (CST, ESPN3) will kick off at 3:07 p.m. at Malone Stadium.
While last year ULL was the team to beat, this year the Warhawks appear to be poised to run the conference table. ULM is 4-0 in conference play for the first time and is bowl-eligible. The team has won five straight games since dropping the third game of the season to Baylor. Among those wins was the stunning 34-31 overtime victory at then-eighth-ranked Arkansas on Sept. 8. Then, there was the near-miss against Auburn, in which Scioneaux became a YouTube sensation.
Of course, none of this shocks players like Scioneaux.
“This is just a team that puts in a lot of hard work,” he said. “I think a lot of people just underestimated us.”
ULM coach Todd Berry said he was somewhat surprised at Scioneaux’s quick success.
“You really don’t expect a play like that from a redshirt freshman,” Berry said. “You kind of expect players like that to sit back and take a backup (role) and get some experience. But he’s had a lot of catches (three), and all of them have gone for touchdowns. He obviously has earned the trust of his quarterback. Quarterbacks usually don’t throw to guys like that unless they trust that they can make the catch.”
Scioneaux has showed he can do that. Earlier in the Auburn game, Scioneaux caught another touchdown pass — the first of his college career. After making national headlines, Scioneaux’s alma mater posted video of a game-winning touchdown grab in the playoffs against Farmerville.
Scioneaux also is well-acquainted with big rivalry games like today’s game against the Cajuns. This will be the 48th meeting of the two teams, but the first for Scioneaux.
“It’s like the rivalry against Riverside (Academy) all over again,” Scioneaux said. “It’s a big game. A lot of people are going to be there. I’m excited to play in it.”