The Louisiana Monroe Warhawks (1-7, 0-4) will travel to face the Troy Trojans (2-6, 1-3) in a battle of bottom feeders in the Sun Belt Conference Saturday afternoon. Louisiana Monroe has won four straight meetings between the teams, including a 22-20 win on September 27, 2014 in the most recent matchup. Troy covered the line in that contest as they were a 13.5 point underdog in that contest.
Louisiana Monroe lost their sixth straight game as they were upended 30-24 on the road by Louisiana Lafayette last week. Troy put together a solid performance but was knocked off 44-41 in triple overtime by Appalachian State on the road last week. This game is slated for a 3:30 pm ET kickoff from Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Alabama and can be seen on ESPN3. Troy is currently a 9.5 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 53.5 points.
Louisiana Monroe battled hard as they held a 24-9 edge at halftime but they were outscored 21-0 in the second half to end up a loser. The Warhawks outgained the Ragin’ Cajuns 341-261 in the contest but turned the ball over twice and had a punt blocked to help Louisiana Lafayette back in the game. Still, Louisiana Monroe held a 24-16 edge after three quarters before giving up two touchdowns in the final stanza; a 64 yard scoring pass from Brooks Haack to Jamal Robinson with 3:10 to play put Louisiana Monroe behind and they couldn’t make up the deficit.
The Warhawks are 69th in the nation in passing offense (223.1 yards) but they are currently tied for 123rd in the nation in rushing offense as they average 96 yards per game on the ground. Louisiana Monroe scores 20.9 points per game, which leaves them tied for 104th in scoring offense while they stand 109th in scoring defense as they allow 35.8 points a night. Garrett Smith is the starter at quarterback and has hit 164 of 285 passes for 1,756 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions; he’s second on the team with 202 yards and two scores on the ground. Louisiana Monroe averages 3.1 yards per carry on the ground; Kaylon Watson leads the team with 62 carries for 239 yards while Ben Luckett has 31 carries for 169 yards plus a score and DeVontae Michael (39 carries, 158 yards, 2 TD) is in the mix as well. Ajalen Holley leads the Warhawks with 47 receptions for 589 yards and four scores while Rashon Caesar chips in 26 catches for 272 yards and two scores; Watson has 16 catches out of the backfield. Jared Mapps (17 grabs, 164 yards, TD) and Marcus Green (25 catches, 291 yards, 3 TD) are secondary targets. Craig Ford has hit all 20 extra points and has booted six of nine field goals this season with a long of 44 yards.
Troy gave Appalachian State all they wanted and them some but a fake field goal that went awry in the third overtime proved to be their downfall as the Mountaineers snuffed it out and then converted on their possession. The Trojans outgained the Mountaineers 450-432 and finished with 25 first downs to Appalachian State’s 22 but they turned the ball over twice while forcing just one turnover. One of those turnovers was a pick six in the opening minute of the contest as Ronald Blair took a Brandon Silvers interception back 30 yards for a score.
The Trojans have struggled offensively as they average 220.3 yards per game (73rd in the nation) through the air and 125.5 yards per contest (113th in the nation) on the ground. Troy is tied for 86th in the nation in scoring offense as they average 26.5 points per game while they are allowing 29 points per game on the year, which leaves them tied for 80th in the nation in scoring defense. Brandon Silvers has completed 126 of 199 passes for 1,314 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions; Dontreal Pruitt (20 of 31, 160 yards, 2 INT, 105 rushing yards, TD) started against Mississippi State. Dallas Tidwell started against Idaho; he’s 20 of 47 passing for 243 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Brandon Burks leads the Trojans on the ground as he has run the ball 129 times for 676 yards and five scores; Andre Flakes is next in line with 49 carries for 191 yards plus three scores. Teddy Ruben leads the team with 42 receptions for 551 yards and six scores but only Jarvis Bentley (18 grabs, 223 yards, TD) has more than 16 grabs for Troy this season. Two kickers have combined to kick 24 of 25 extra points and 10 of 12 field goal attempts this season with a long of 44 yards.
Troy is 4-1 ATS in their last five after giving up at least 200 yards on the ground and 6-2 ATS in their last eight after allowing more than 40 points in their last game. Louisiana Monroe is 1-3-1 ATS in their last five after a straight up loss and 1-3-1 ATS in their last five overall.
The Warhawks have struggled repeatedly this season as their lone win came over FCS school Nicholls State this season. Troy bombed New Mexico State and then gave Appalachian State a battle before falling. That has to give the Trojans a bit of momentum going into this game; look for Troy to get the win by double figures as they cover the line in this contest.