ULM vs. Auburn: What Louisiana-Monroe Must Do to Upset Tigers
Louisiana-Monroe may still not be considered in the same league as Auburn, but when you beat a team ranked No. 8 in the nation to start the season, you certainly turn some heads.
ULM is coming off a shocking 34-31 overtime victory over then-No. 8 Arkansas last week.
In that game, Warhawks quarterback Kolton Browning went 42-for-67 for 412 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The junior also rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He accounted for over 87 percent of ULM's offense.
The Warhawks also picked off Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, and actually knocked him out of the game. Freshman quarterback Brandon Allen was forced to start the second half, which didn't go well for him. He went 6-for-20 for 85 yards, one touchdown and one interception as ULM bounced back from a 21-7 halftime deficit to eventually win the game.
Auburn (0-2) has had a rough start to the season, but the Tigers did lose to two formidable opponents in Clemson and Mississippi State.
Sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier has struggled in his first season starting, to say the least. Through two games, he's gone 24-for-49 for 319 yards (6.5 yards per attempt), while tossing one touchdown to four interceptions.
Against the Bulldogs last week, Frazier had a dreadful performance, going 13-for-22 for 125 yards and no touchdowns to three interceptions.
Also, the running game hasn't been as good without Michael Dyer. Even if you take out Frazier's 20 carries for 13 yards, the Tigers are still averaging a ho-hum 4.8 yards per carry with no rushing touchdowns.
So what, exactly, does Auburn have?
Well, the Tigers do have a game-changer in defensive end Corey Lemonier. Lemonier has racked up 11 tackles (three tackles for loss) and three sacks so far this season.
Other than that, you can't be too confident in Auburn's play so far. The defense overall has missed tackles left and right and the only player in the secondary who has stood out is safety Demetruce McNeal.
Still, this is ULM, not a major program.
So what do the Warhawks need to do to pull off a second-straight stunner?
First of all, getting some pressure on Frazier is their best bet. Frazier's numbers so far don't lie. He's looked like a freshman for the majority of the two games and he's also been sacked four times. If ULM can make Frazier uncomfortable, the Warhawks have already shown they can capitalize (two interceptions so far).
Will ULM pull of the upset?
Also, the Auburn running game leaves a lot to be desired, but sophomore Tre Mason did have a big game against Clemson to start the season before getting stymied against Mississippi State. Mason rushed for 106 yards on 14 carries against Clemson.
While ULM did a fantastic job against Arkansas running back Knile Davis last week (16 carries, 62 yards), the squad did allow senior Dennis Johnson to rush for 50 yards on seven carries. Auburn may try to find some room running the ball with Frazier struggling, so ULM needs to be prepared.
Last but not least, the Warhawks need to win the turnover battle. There's a chance, given the way he's played so far, that Frazier coughs the ball up on Saturday.
Browning needs to take care of the ball and avoid hurting his team. He took three sacks against Arkansas despite his 67 pass attempts. He figures to see a stronger pass rush this time around and he can't allow Lemonier to rattle him.
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