The venue was different and many of the circumstances were as well.
But the UL-ULM rivalry rarely ever disappoints.
For the second straight season, the Warhawks missed a field goal at the buzzer that would have potentially got them into a bowl. Last year, it was Craig Ford missing a 36-yarder wide right on the game’s last play to lose 31-28.
On Saturday at Cajun Field, Jared Porter yanked a 35-yard field goal wide left to allowed the UL Ragin’ Cajuns to survive a huge scare from arch-rival ULM 31-30 to end their season at 5-7.
For the Cajuns, the miss secured the first 10-win season in school history.
The Warhawks, who finished 5-7, had driven 57 yards to reach the UL 18 in 10 plays before the missed field goal.
That came after the Cajuns drove 62 yards on 15 plays in 6:35 to take the 31-30 lead on a 28-yard field goal by Stevie Artigue with 1:21 left to play. That drive was kept alive by a clutch 14-yard run by Levi Lewis on fourth down to keep the drive alive.
There was a lot of good and a lot of not so good for the Cajuns in the first half.
But one of the primary factors that excited Napier after the win was the huge contribution of his seniors.
"One thing I’m extremely proud of tonight is I thought some of our seniors," Napier said. "It was their last opportunity, they played some of their best football at critical times.
"I’m proud of this senior group, certainly a talented group, but more than that, just a good group of men – made of the right stuff with character. They’re great leaders, great examples. They’ve been at the heart of what we’ve been able to do here the second half of last year and certainly this year."
Raymond Calais rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown, while Elijah Mitchell eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season after getting 102 on 19 carries.
On such an historic night, Calais delivered one of the best runs in school history with an 83-yard touchdown run just before the half for a 21-14 lead.
"That was one of the most exciting runs that I've made," Calais said. "That's just a testament that goes to all of our hard work, the receivers blocking and the O-line blocking.
"Most definitely (got close to catching him)," Calais explained. "Out of the corner of my eye, I saw No. 21 on the right side. Then I saw No. 20 on the left side. The only thing I was thinking was not to get shoestring tackled. I had my head down and I was just running and running and running."
It was Calais’ longest run from scrimmage since a school-record 92-yard TD run against Georgia State last season.
"But you know what I like about Ray Calais, I like who he is as a person," Napier said. "Every meeting I've ever had with that guy, he's got a plan. When he got here, he was an unheralded guy. People said, 'He can't play running back. He was a slot receiver.' All I know since I've been here, the guy has been relentless. We give him plans for improvement and he does it.
"He's gotten bigger, stronger, better eye discipline, more decisive, tougher and certainly we wouldn't be here today celebrating our 10th win without the guy. He's an incredible person and he does it with class."
ULM’s Josh Johnson rushed for 109 yards. Quarterback Caleb Evans threw for 330 yards and two scores and rushed for 77 and a score on 14 carries.
It sure started out good with UL’s offense scoring on its first possession for the fourth straight game to take a quick 7-0 lead.
The drive was set up by Bralen Trahan’s 54-yard interception return to the ULM 40. Three plays later, Levi Lewis hit Jamal Bell for a 36-yard touchdown pass at 10:02 of the first quarter. Unfortunately, Bell later left the game injured, which was a theme of the night for the Cajuns.
The Cajuns’ next two possessions ended with punts, though, and during that span, the Warhawks scratched for the first time. It was a seven-play, 62-yard drive in 3:17. Evans did the honors with a 19-yard scoring run left the left side with 3:03 left in the opening period.
ULM’s next possession ended with a 72-yard punt downed at the 1. Instead of that being a negative, the Cajuns promptly marched 99 yards on seven plays in 4:03 to regain the lead at 14-7 with 10:41 left until intermission.
It was the Cajuns’ third drive of over 90 yards this season. It began with a 26-yard connection with Peter LeBlanc and ended with a 42-yard TD pass to Ja’Marcus Bradley.
Later, Bradley helped the Cajuns regain the lead for good with a 74-yard completion to Bradley, which was the both the longest completion of Lewis’ career and longest reception for Bradley. It set up a 2-yard TD pass to LeBlanc for a 28-21 lead.
"At first, I didn't think Lee (Lewis) had seen me, so in the middle of the play, I was like, 'Lee', and as soon as I said Lee, he just threw it to me," Bradley said. "I caught it and I saw Bam and I think it was Pete (LeBlanc) on the lefthand side, so I planned to get behind their blocks. They did a great job of blocking for me and I just ran down the field."