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Texas State vs. Louisiana-Monroe: Preview & Prediction

Warhawks need a win to keep the momentum going; Bobcats need a win because there is no momentum.

NCAA Football: UL Monroe at Mississippi Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Location: Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA

Kickoff: Saturday October 20th 6:00 pm CST

TV: ESPN 3

Series Record: Louisiana-Monroe leads series, 10-4.

Last Meeting: Louisiana-Monroe won 45-27 in 2017

Betting Line: ULM -10.5, O/U: 61 1/2


Texas State Outlook

In terms of the football program, Texas State has been disappointing not because of a lack of talent or ability but a lack of cohesiveness. Save for a few game winning drives gone awry and a blown 16-point second half lead, I could be talking about a 3-2 team (4-1 if you wanna get super quixotic about a comeback attempt against the other Louisiana).

The offense has been hot and cold, yes and no, so according to head coach Everett Withers at the weekly presser, we may see quarterbacks coach Brett Elliott take over offensive play calling from OC Zak Kuhr.

Withers mentions slyly a change in who will call plays after being asked by a reporter if Elliott had been secretly calling offensive plays. So take the Elliott rumor with a grain of Mrs. Dash.

Regardless of who calls plays whether it’s Kuhr, Elliott or they engage the ask Corso option the offense will run have to run through quarterback Tyler Vitt. I know I know, “give tight end Keenan Brown the ball every play”. But think about it, the only thing more threatening than giving Brown the ball on a reg is the defense not knowing whether he will get it or not. Brown would be a perfect decoy and all Texas State needs to do is put on their best poker face and involve weapons like the flexible play of Jeremiah Hayden and Hutch “The Clutch” White.

Willie Jones III has talent but so far Vitt has been more productive and it was inconceivable that Vitt was benched for WJIII against Georgia Southern.

But cutsie meme aside it’s the truth. Vitt can stand in the pocket and go through his throwing motion even with defenders breathing down his neck. He can run too. Maybe not as elusively as Jones III but his 48.2% completion is enough to make me pull for Vitt and his 67.4% any day.

Defense is the same. They’ve been pulling double time to keep an ailing offense in the game.

The usual suspects are present: Bryan London II, Frankie Griffin, etc. but it’s the performance and the cold hard stats that are mind boggling.

Texas State held the triple option attack Georgia Southern Eagles last Thursday to 164 yards on a paltry 3.2 yards a carry. This for a team that was carrying a 230 per game average on the ground.

Louisiana-Monroe Outlook

Coming off a 4-game losing streak in which the Warhawks allowed nearly 50 points a game ULM finally got something positive going with a 45-20 spanking of Coastal Carolina.

Monroe is on to something. Matt Viator has his passing attack humming and thanks to the play of Caleb Evans the Warhawks can go airborne.

The junior quarterback leads the Sun Belt with 1,622 passing yards and worst of all for opposing defenses has 333 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground.

Combine that with running back Derrick Gore, who ripped off 147 yards against Coastal Carolina, carrying a 5.5 average but numbers aside Gore can go.

I’m not gonna sugar coat it. The Warhawks’ defense have been getting gashed. They have allowed 517.2 yards a game on 7.18 yards a play. This ranks them 126 in the nation out of 129 FBS teams. ULM can not afford to get decimated to that degree against Texas State if they wish to win.

Fun Facts

  • The Bobcats and Warhawks were rivals in the FCS Southland Conference from 1987-1993 when the schools were called Southwest Texas State and Northeast Louisiana, respectively.
  • ULM quarterback great Stan Humphries’ first professional touchdown pass was to Texas State wide receiver legend Ricky Sanders in 1989 when they were with the Washington Redskins.

Conclusion

Homecoming may have ULM looking to #defendthenest but Texas State may pillage the eggs and make an Brown and White egg omelet. Gimme the 27-15 Bobcat win.