The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (1-3, 0-1) will travel to face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-2, 0-1) in a non-conference matchup Saturday evening. Tulsa took the last matchup in the series as they were victorious by a 35-17 score on August 30, 2007 as a 3.5 point favorite.
Louisiana-Monroe is coming off their second straight loss as they were defeated 51-31 by Georgia Southern on the road last week. Tulsa dropped their second straight as they were defeated 38-24 by Houston at home last week. This game kicks off at 6:00 pm ET from Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be seen on ESPN3. Tulsa is currently a 9 point favorite with the over/under set at 68 points in this contest.
Louisiana-Monroe found themselves in a 31-10 hole at the half against Georgia Southern and couldn’t recover. They cut the deficit to 31-24 early in the fourth quarter but drew no closer. The Warhawks were outgained 503-279 in the contest and turned the ball over three times while forcing just one turnover in the game. Louisiana-Monroe also had a punt blocked, which was returned for the opening score of the contest. It’s tough to come back from a multiple touchdown deficit at halftime against a decent opponent.
The Warhawks are averaging 228 yards through the air and 75.8 yards on the ground, which is 126th in the nation. Louisiana-Monroe scores 30 points per game but they are ranked 103rd in scoring defense by allowing 34 points per contest. Garrett Smith has hit 87 of 135 passes for 887 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. The Warhawks struggle to run the ball as they average only 2.5 yards per carry; Ben Luckett leads the team with 20 carries for 100 yards and a score while Smith is next in line with 99 yards and a score. Ajalen Holley (28 receptions, 367 yards, 2 TD) and Rashon Caesar (26 receptions, 272 yards, 2 TD) are far and away the top targets; no one else has more than seven grabs. Craig Ford has hit all 11 extra points and both his field goal attempts.
Tulsa ran out of steam in the second half of their loss against the Cougars as they were unable to overcome a 21-10 halftime deficit. The Golden Hurricane’s biggest problem was stopping Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr.; he threw for 273 yards and ran for 182 plus three scores. Houston totaled 638 yards of offense while Tulsa finished with 456 in the game. The Golden Hurricane also turned the ball over twice and forced just one turnover.
The Golden Hurricane has the 6th best passing offense in the country as they throw for 374.5 yards per game while they run for an additional 194.8 yards per game. Tulsa is scoring at a good clip as they put up 37 points per game but they are just 116th in the nation in scoring defense as they give up 38.8 points per contest. Dane Evans is hitting 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,498 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions on the year. Zack Langer is the team’s top back as he has 107 carries for 471 yards and eight scores while D’Angelo Brewer contributes 47 carries for 271 yards plus a score. Keyarris Garrett (33 receptions, 539 yards, TD), Keevan Lucas (26 grabs, 409 yards, 5 TD) and Joshua Atkinson (19 catches, 330 yards, 2 TD) are a trio of talented receivers in the passing game. Redford Jones has booted all 17 extra points and 8 of 12 field goal attempts this season.
Tulsa is 4-1 ATS in their last five after an ATS loss, 4-1 ATS in their last five after allowing at least 200 yards on the ground and 5-2 ATS in their last seven against the Sun Belt. Louisiana-Monroe is 2-5 ATS in their last seven following an ATS loss, 1-4 ATS in their last five after a double digit loss at home, 1-4 ATS in their last five after allowing at least 40 points and 0-4 ATS in their last four in October.
Both teams are coming off losses and are trying to regroup before their respective slides get out of hand. Tulsa is by far the better of the two offenses in this contest but they need to tighten up defensively. Louisiana-Monroe is one-dimensional as the run game is almost nonexistent; look for Tulsa to win this one by a couple of scores.