Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at Troy Trojans
Veterans Memorial Stadium – Troy, Alabama
Thursday, October 31, 2013, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Troy -3
Current Line: Troy -3
Opening Total: 57 1/2
Current Total: 60 1/2
Opening Money Line: Troy -155 / ULM +135
Current Money Line: Troy -155 / ULM +135
The 5-3 Troy Trojans look to become bowl eligible as they host the 4-4 Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks Halloween night. The Trojans are 3-1 in the Sunbelt and the Warhawks are 2-1. The winner will take over sole possession of second in the conference behind 3-0 Louisiana. Troy leads the series against ULM 8-5-1 including 6-1 in Troy. The Warhawks have won two straight games in the series including 38-10 at Troy in 2011. The two schools did not play last year.
Louisiana-Monroe is coached by Todd Berry. The Warhawks have road losses at Oklahoma 34-0 and Baylor 70-7 along with home losses to Tulane 31-14 and Western Kentucky 31-10. ULM has home wins over Grambling State 48-10 and last week against Georgia State 38-10, along with road wins at Wake Forest 21-19 and Texas State 21-14. The Warhawks have won 2 straight games after a 3 game losing streak. ULM is 3-5 ATS and the total is 2-6 this season. The Warhawks easily covered the 15.5 point spread against Georgia State and the total stayed under 52.
ULM jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead against Georgia State. The Panthers pulled to within 14-10 in the second quarter, but wouldn’t score again. The Warhawks expanded the lead to 28-10 by halftime. ULM added 10 points in the third quarter to make the final 38-10. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter. The Warhawks had 534 total yards including 309 passing and 225 rushing. Georgia State had 244 total yards and 14 first downs. The Panthers’ only touchdown came on an 87 yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second. Georgia State had 4 turnovers and ULM had 2.
ULM is being outscored 27-20 this season. The Warhawks are #109 nationally out of 125 FBS teams in scoring. ULM is averaging 358.2 total yards including 228.8 passing and 129.5 rushing yards. The Warhawks are #99 in total offense and #100 in rushing. ULM is allowing 402.8 yards per game on defense including 217.2 passing and 185.5 rushing. The Warhawks are -9 in turnovers with 21 giveaways. ULM averages 42 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 79. The Warhawks are 57/155 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 39/120. ULM has forced 11 sacks and allowed 12 this season. The Warhawks are 17/29 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns and opponents are 19/26 with 13 touchdowns. ULM has 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns but has also allowed 4 defensive touchdowns this season.
ULM quarterback Kolton Browning tore a quad muscle in late September and looked to be out for the season. However, he returned last week against Georgia State after missing two games. He is listed as questionable. Browning has completed 54.8% of his passes for 1,191 yards with 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, along with 45 carries for 128 yards. If Browning can’t go Sophomore Brayle Brown will take the snaps. He has completed 52.2% of his passes for 613 yards with a touchdown and 6 interceptions, along with 21 carries for 45 yards. He took some snaps against Georgia State and will likely do so again against Troy.
Running back Jyruss Edwards has 82 carries, 365 yards and 2 touchdowns along with 11 catches for 38 yards. Centarius Donald has 34 carries, 234 yards and 2 touchdowns. DeVontae McNeal has 24 carries, 118 yards and a touchdowns, along with 3 catches. Receiver Rashon Caesar has 42 catches for 493 yards. Tavarese Maye has 42 catches for 370 yards and a touchdown. Je’Ronn Hamm has 21 catches for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kenzee Jackson has 19 catches for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Harley Scioneaux has 15 catches for 116 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ajalen Holley has only 5 catches but two went for touchdowns.
Troy coach Larry Blakeney has been the Trojans’ coach for 23 seasons. Troy has home wins over UAB 34-31 in overtime, Savannah State 66-3, and South Alabama 34-33, along with road wins at Georgia State 35-28 and last week at Western Kentucky 32-26. The Trojans have road losses at Arkansas State 41-34, Mississippi State 62-7 and Duke 38-31. Troy has won three straight games after a three game losing streak. The Trojans are 3-4-1 ATS and the total is 7-1 this season. Troy was a 10.5 point favorite at Western Kentucky last week and the total was 63.
Troy took a 10-3 lead in the first quarter at Western Kentucky last week. The Hilltoppers would score 17 straight points in the second to take a 20-10 halftime lead. The Trojans outscored Western Kentucky 14-6 in the third and trailed 26-24 going into the fourth. Troy scored a touchdown early in the fourth and converted for two points to make ti 32-26. Western Kentucky would have two more possessions but they ended with a missed 37 yard field goal and a turnover on downs at the Troy 22 with 1:37 to go. The Trojans ran out the clock to win. Troy also missed a 32 yard field goal with 4:38 left that gave WKU a chance to win the game. The Hilltoppers had 532 total yards including 399 passing yards. Troy had 397 total yards including 306 passing yards. The Trojans had 10 penalties for 104 yards and WKU had 5 for 37 yards. The Hilltoppers had 2 turnovers and the Trojans had one.
Troy is outscoring teams 34-33 this season. The Trojans are #37 in scoring and #99 in points allowed nationally. Troy is averaging 475.6 total yards including 325 passing and 150.6 rushing. Troy is #26 in total offense, #25 in passing and #88 in rushing. On defense, Troy is allowing 472.8 total yards including 332.9 passing and 132.9 rushing Yards. The Trojans are #110 nationally in total defense and second to last against the pass. The rush defense is #34 but teams really don’t have to run against the Trojans with such a terrible pass defense. Troy is -8 in turnovers with 14 giveaways. The Trojans are averaging 72 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 56. Troy is 65/137 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 80/124. The Trojans have forced 18 sacks and allowed 14 this season. Troy is 30/37 scoring in the red zone with 24 touchdowns and opponents are 26/32 with 19. The Trojans have one pick six this season and have allowed a pick six and a kick return for a touchdown.
Troy quarterback Corey Robinson has completed 70.4% of his passes for 2,195 yards with 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Deon Anthony usually takes a few snaps a game. He has thrown for 313 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Anthony is also the second leading rusher for the Trojans with 65 carries for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns, and also has 10 catches for 116 yards. Dallas Tidwell has also thrown 2 touchdown passes in 10 snaps this season.
Running back Brandon Burks has 99 carries for 468 yards and a touchdown, along with 29 catches for 148 yards. Jordan Chunn has 79 carries for 305 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 14 catches for 84 yards. Receiver Eric Thomas has 42 catches for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns. Bryan Holmes has 31 catches for 472 yards and 5 touchdowns. Chris Williams has 19 catches for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns. Counting the running backs and Anthony, 10 receivers have at least 10 catches for the Trojans.
ULM is 5-0 ATS after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 5-1 after allowing 275 total yards or more, 13-3 on turf, 4-1 in Sun Belt games, and after rushing for 200 yards or more, 9-3 in road games, 6-2 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 3-9 after gaining more than 450 total yards, and 1-5 against teams with winning records. The Warhawks are 6-2 ATS in the last 8 against the Trojans and were the underdog in each of those games.
Troy is 3-0-1 ATS after rushing for less than 100 yards, 3-1-1 after allowing more than 450 total yards, 4-10 at home, 2-5-1 after passing for more than 280 yards, 3-8-1 after a straight up win, 1-3-1 after a cover, and on turf, 1-4-1 in Thursday games, 2-10 in October, and 1-6-2 in Sun Belt games.
Troy has an explosive offense but a suspect defense. ULM has the opposite problem as they struggle on offense. This should be a shootout though. I am not sure Browning is completely healthy and he could be risking further injury. I think Troy wins at home, but ULM keeps it close.