Louisiana Monroe at Tulsa
Start Time: 6:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Oct. 10
Location: Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Records: Louisiana Monroe 1-3, Tulsa 2-2. Tulsa leads the overall series 2-1.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: Tulsa -9.5. Over/Under: 66.5.
Louisiana Monroe Outlook: While struggling in every other category, the ULM Warhawks are excellent at finishing drives with 6.13 points scored per trip inside the 40, good for #5 nationally. Running the football is almost a complete afterthought for the offense with a 32.1% success rate and a 20.4% stuff rate. Garrett Smith, the quarterback, is the leading rusher with 146 yards on the season. The only other player with 100+ yards on the season is Ben Luckett (20/100/1TD). The Warhawks average 75.8 yards on the ground per game.
As bad as the rushing attack for ULM is, the passing game is not much better. The Warhawks are #101 or worse in passing S&P+, success rate (36.5%), and IsoPPP. Garrett Smith (87-135/882/8TD) has not been terrible, but the pass game has no one to catch the ball. Rashon Ceaser (26/272/2TD) is a legit NFL prospect at wide receiver, but is out for an extended time due to an injury. The only other receiver with 10+ catches on the season is Ajalen Holley (28/367/2TD). Between Ceaser and Holley, the duo combines for 57.2% of all targets (79 total targets). No one else on the team has more than 10 targets on the season.
Defensively, ULM is put in a hole with offenses starting on the 37-yard line on average. Offenses are successful on 46.2% of all rushing plays with a rushing IsoPPP of 1.25. ULM is only able to stuff a run play on 15.6% of all opportunities. Teams are running for 248.5 yards per game versus ULM, though some statistics are inflated due to the excellent rushing attacks they have faced. On first look, ULM’s pass defense looks solid in giving up only 126.8 yards per game. Much of that is due to offenses running the ball 71% of the time.
Players to watch on the ULM defense include: Michael Johnson (26 tkl, 1.5 tfl), Gerrand Johnson (20 tkl, 2 tfl), and Ben Banogu (13 tkl, 4 tfl, 1 sack).
Tulsa Outlook: The Golden Hurricanes are a solidly efficient team with a 43.4% success rate on all offensive plays. Running the ball, the number jumps to 45.1%, good for #44 in the nation. The problem with Tulsa’s run offense is that they are not explosive at all. Leading rusher Zack Langer (107/451/8TD) will get constant yards, but will not break many long runs. D’Angelo Brewer (47/271/1TD) is more explosive with a 5.8 yards per carry average. Overall, the run game accounts for 194.8 yards per game.
Tulsa has one of the most productive passing games in the nation, led by quarterback Dane Evans (97-158/1,498/8TD). The pass game is successful on 41.7% of all passing attempts, with the #16 ranked IsoPPP. The duo of Keyarris Garrett (33/539/1TD) and Keevan Lucas (26/409/5TD) are accounting for 62.6% of all targets. Joshua Atkinson (19/330/2TD) has come on recently and has the best catch rate of the group at 73.1%. Overall, the Golden Hurricanes are averaging 374.5 yards per game in the air.
Tulsa has struggled on defense to start the 2015 season. Offenses are successful on 46.2% of all plays, including a 45.8% success rate on run plays. Not only are teams successful running the ball, they are explosive with an IsoPPP of 1.25. The success rate jumps to 46.7% for offenses in the pass game, with Tulsda giving up big plays all over the field. The Golden Hurricanes are giving up 297.2 yards per game in the air.
Players to watch on the Tulsa defense include: Michael Mudoh (49 tkl, 1.5 tfl), Matt Linscott (41 tkl, 8.5 tfl, 2.5 sacks)m and Trent Martin (35 tkl, 5 tfl, 2 sacks).
Prediction: Tulsa was exposed a bit versus Houston and proved that they are still at least a year away from competing in the AAC. Unless Rashon Ceaser has suddenly become healthy, ULM has only one real option in the passing game. ULM will give it a shot, but do not have the weapons to score at the rate of the Golden Hurricanes. Tulsa 38, ULM 21.