Nicholls State-Louisiana Monroe
Start Time: 7:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 12
Location: Malone Stadium, Monroe, Louisiana
Records: Louisiana Monroe 0-1, Nicholls State 0-0. ULM leads the overall series 22-3.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: No line.
Louisiana Monroe Outlook: Facing a talented Georgia squad, the ULM Warhawks were unable to get into the game, losing their week one game 51-14.
Offensively, Garrett Smith (23-29/206/2TD) was efficient with only one major mistake, an poor interception thrown to the Georgia defense. While spreading the ball to seven different receivers, Smith immediately developed a connection with Rashon Ceaser (13/153/2TD). Ceaser was the only Warhawks wide receiver able to regularly beat coverage. The ULM rushing attack was terrible versus Georgia with 26 carries for a total of 45 yards. Garrett Smith was the leading rusher with 13 carries for 26 yards. Overall, the Warhawks accumulated 251 yards, well short of what they will need to compete in the Sun Belt. Expect ULM to get their offense right in this mismatch.
The Bulldogs did to ULM what they do to many foes, overwhelm them with a powerful running game. ULM allowed 243 yards on the ground with a 6.4 yards per carry average and four tochdowns against the Bulldogs. The Warhawks gave up a total of 435 yards and 8.4 yards per play in the loss. Michael Johnson (8 tkl) led the way with Justin Backus (5 tkl) amd Wesley Thompson (5 tkl) also breaking the five tackle mark. In total, ULM made three tackles for loss and one sack.
Nicholls State Outlook: Nicholls State had an odd week one bye to start the season so this game will be the first of the season for the Colonels.
Tim Rebowe is the new head coach of the Colonles, a team that finished the 2014 season winless. Nicholls will have two 1,000-yard rushers in the backfield in quarterback Tuskani Figaro (1,103 yards in 2013) and running back Michael Henry (1,005 yards in 2014). Tobias Lofton (434 yards in 2014) will give the Colonels a solid two running backs for a team that rushed 414 times last fall.
The less said about the Colonels defense, the better as opponents torched them at the rate of 50.2 points, 538 yards, and 7.1 yards per play in 2014. Tyler "Tank" Johnson and Devin Simoneaux will start on the edges as redshirt freshmen, while sophomore Lazarus Ona (30 tkl) will start at nose. Linebackers Kameryon Brown (89 tkl), B.T. Sanders (79), Ronnie Walker (76) should give some stability to the front seven. The secondary will have a new look as only three of the nine players listed on the depth chart saw the field last year.
Prediction: After taking a whipping from Georgia in the season opener, the Warhawks get a much needed cupcake game versus Nicholls State. ULM has an offense that includes three more than capable wide receivers and a defense that includes one of the best overall players in the Sun Belt. If this game turns into a battle, it bodes very poorly for the rest of the season. The Warhawks should cruise to a win.