Independence Bowl 2012: Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe TV Info, Predictions, and More

David Luther@@davidrlutherFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2012

Independence Bowl 2012: Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe TV Info, Predictions, and More

0 of 10

    The 2012 Independence Bowl matchup is set, and football fans in the state of Louisiana can look forward to a home team taking on a visitor from the reviled Midwest.

    The Independence Bowl is typically an ACC-Mountain West bowl, but with so few teams from each of those conferences earning bowl eligibility this season, the folks at the Independence Bowl have opted to extend an invite to first-time bowler, and hometown heroes Louisiana-Monroe from the Sun Belt and the Ohio Bobcats from the Mid-American Conference.

    Here we'll take a look at how these two teams match up, and what to look for in this year's Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA.

Game-Day Info

1 of 10

    The 2012 Independence Bowl

    Where: Independence Stadium in Shreveport, LA

    When: December 28, 2012; 2:00 p.m. ET

    TV: ESPN

    Radio: KJLO, 104.1 FM, Monroe, LA; WXTQ, 105.5 FM, Athens, OH

    Web: http://independencebowl.org/

    Line: Louisiana-Monroe, -6

Key Storylines

2 of 10

    Louisiana-Monroe had its best season of football since joining the FBS in 1994 as “Northeast Louisiana Institute."

    ULM finished in a tie for second place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 6-2 conference mark, and will play in the program's first-ever bowl game after posting an overall 8-4 record.

    Ohio finished the 2012 with an 8-4 record.  Interestingly enough, Ohio's only losses came to other MAC schools this season, despite having played their annual MAC-Big Ten game at Penn State.

    The Bobcats started 7-0 and cracked the Top 25 for the first time in program history before losing at Miami University on October 27.  Including that loss, the Bobcats finished 1-4 over their last five games, and limped across the finish line at 8-4 (4-4 in the MAC).

Ohio Depth Chart and Injury Report

3 of 10

    Ohio has been one of the hardest hit teams on the injury front since fall camp opened back in August.

    The Bobcats have lost no fewer than 10 players to season-ending injuries since fall camp, including starters Jordan Thompson, Jamil Shaw, Mario Dovell, and Travis Carrie.

    Most importantly, however, is the loss of star running back Ryan Boykin.

    Starting defensive tackle Neal Huynh is listed as questionable for the Bobcats' bowl appearance due to a leg injury. Also questionable is starting tight end Derek Roback with an undisclosed injury.

    Offensive Depth Chart

    QB

    4 Tyler Tettleton, 6'0", 200 lbs, Jr.

    15 Derrius Vick, 6'0", 205 lbs, Fr.

    RB

    22 Beau Blankenship, 5'9", 202 lbs, Jr.

    7 Daz'mond Patterson, 5'6", 178 lbs, Fr.

    WR

    81 Tyler Futrell, 6'0", 179 lbs, Sr.

    80 Matt Waters, 6'0", 203 lbs, Jr.

    WR

    3 Donte Foster, 6'1", 193 lbs, Jr.

    17 Bakari Bussey, 6'2", 205 lbs, Jr.

    WR

    8 Chase Cochran, 6'2", 182 lbs, So.

    16 Ryan Clark, 5'9", 169 lbs, Sr.

    TE

    11 Troy Hill, 6'5", 210 lbs, Jr.

    9 Derek Roback, 6'3", 249 lbs, Fr.

    LT

    74 John Prior, 6'6", 301 lbs, Jr.

    66 Jon Lechner, 6'5", 332 lbs, Jr.

    LG

    64 Vince Carlotta, 6'4", 289 lbs, Sr.

    66 Jon Lechner, 6'5", 332 lbs, Jr.

    C

    65 Skyler Allen, 6'3", 288 lbs, Sr.

    76 JD Bales, 6'5", 307 lbs, Sr.

    RG

    77 Eric Herman, 6'4", 319 lbs, Sr.

    67 Mike Lucas, 6'4", 340 lbs, Fr.

    RT

    60 Ryan McGrath, 6'6", 304 lbs, Jr.

    61 Bryce Dietz, 6'5", 290 lbs, Fr.

    Defensive Depth Chart

    DE

    94 Corey Hasting, 6'1", 261lbs, Sr.

    96 Kendrick Smith, 6'3", 245 lbs, So.

    NG

    93 Neal Huynh, 6'3", 315 lbs, Sr.

    91 Antwan Crutcher, 6'1", 300 lbs, So.

    DT

    89 Carl Jones, 6'0", 245 lbs, Sr.

    94 Corey Hasting, 6'1", 261 lbs, Sr.

    DE

    97 Nic Barber, 6'3", 219 lbs, Jr.

    73 Ty Branz, 6'2", 250 lbs, Jr.

    WLB

    34 Jelani Woseley, 6'2", 205 lbs, Sr.

    46 Alphonso Lewis, 6'1", 206 lbs, Sr.

    MLB

    38 Keith Moore, 6'0", 219 lbs, Jr.

    36 Ben Russell, 6'1", 234 lbs, Fr.

    SLB

    35 Nathan Carpenter, 5'9", 197 lbs, So.

    26 Mose Denton, 6'1", 200 lbs, Sr.

    CB

    45 Larenzo Fisher, 5'11", 170 lbs, So.

    37 Devin Bass, 5'9", 178 lbs, Fr.

    CB

    41 Ian Wells, 5'11", 192 lbs, So.

    5 Octavius Leftwich, 6'1", 190 lbs, Sr.

    S

    9 Josh Kristoff, 6'0", 194 lbs, So.

    39 Devin Jones, 6'0", 210 lbs, Fr.

    S

    13 Gerald Moore, 6'1", 205 lbs, Sr.

    25 Thad Ingol, 5'10", 190 lbs, So.

    Special Teams Depth Chart

    K

    49 Matt Weller, 6'0", 205 lbs, Jr.

    38 Matt Amicone, 5'6". 170 lbs, Fr.

    P

    48 Grant Venham, 6'3", 210 lbs, Fr.

    27 Matt Ringle, 6'1", 225 lbs, So.

    LS

    47 Miles Chapman, 5'10", 165 lbs, Fr.

    58 Seth Everhart, 6'5", 290 lbs, Fr.

    KR

    16 Ryan Clark, 5'9", 169 lbs, Sr.

    37 Devin Bass, 5'9", 178 lbs, Fr.

    PR

    16 Ryan Clark, 5"9", 169 lbs, Sr.

    81 Tyler Futrell, 6'0", 179 lbs, Sr.

Louisiana-Monroe Depth Chart and Injury Report

4 of 10

    Louisiana-Monroe doesn't release specifics on injuries, but what we do know is that four starters have fallen to injury this season.

    Starting running back and leading rusher Jyruss Edwards remains listed as out for the season with an undisclosed injury. So too is starting linebacker Cameron Blakes.

    Starting wide receiver Colby Harper is also listed as out, but hasn't been confirmed out for the season, so it's possible he could return before bowl season.

    Mitch Lane has been listed as questionable, but like Harper, it's impossible to determine his status heading into bowl season with ULM being so tight-lipped on injuries.

    Offensive Depth Chart

    QB

    15 Kolton Browning, 6'1", 194 lbs, Jr.

    14 Cody Wells, 5'11", 196 lbs, Sr.

    RB

    2 Monterrell Washington, 5'10", 205 lbs, Jr.

    32 Mitchell Bailey, 6'0", 221 lbs, Sr.

    WR

    86 Je'Ron Hamm, 6'3", 222 lbs, Jr.

    85 Tony Cook, 6'4", 180 lbs, Fr.

    WR

    18 Brent Leonard, 6'2", 186 lbs, Sr.

    19 Tyler Cain, 5'8", 189 lbs, So.

    WR

    8 Tavarese Maye, 6'0", 179 lbs, Jr.

    81 Rashon Ceaser, 5'11", 182 lbs, Fr.

    TE

    80 Keavon Milton, 6'4", 293 lbs, Sr.

    82 Kevin Steed, 6'3", 230 lbs, Jr.

    LT

    65 Joseph Treadwell, 6'5", 312 lbs, So.

    67 Jeremy Burton, 6'2", 317 lbs, So.

    LG

    78 Jon Fisher, 6'3", 301 lbs, Jr.

    77 Ben Risenhoover, 6'2", 286 lbs, So.

    C

    66 Josh Allen, 6'3". 302 lbs, Jr.

    68 Colby Mitchell, 6'1", 278 lbs, Fr.

    RG

    56 Jonathan Gill, 6'3", 291 lbs, Sr.

    58 Elliot Hilliard, 6'3", 266 lbs, So.

    RT

    75 Demiere Burkett, 6'2", 296 lbs, So.

    73 Jamal Danley, 6'2", 287 lbs, Fr.

    Defensive Depth Chart

    DE

    91 K. Caldwell, 6'2", 253 lbs, Jr.

    98 Malcolm Edmond, 6'1", 245 lbs, So.

    DE

    99 Joey Gautney, 6'1", 254 lbs, So.

    95 Darius Lively, 6'3", 245 lbs, So.

    NT

    76 Gerrand Johnson, 6'0", 292 lbs, Fr.

    90 Emanuel Jefferies, 6'2", 259 lbs, Jr.

    LB

    45 DaCorris Ford, 6'1", 213 lbs, Sr.

    39 Ray Stovall, 6'2", 230 lbs, So.

    LB

    51 RJ Young, 5'11", 232 lbs, Sr.

    44 Austin Moss, 6'2", 240 lbs, Jr.

    LB

    35 Cameron Blakes, 6'1", 224 lbs, Sr. (Inj.)

    36 Cody Robinson, 6'0", 215 lbs, Fr.

    CB

    27 Vincent Eddie, 5'8", 150 lbs, Jr.

    4 Rob'Donovan Lewis, 5'10", 169 lbs, So.

    CB

    4 Rob'Donovan Lewis, 5'10", 169 lbs, So.

    9 Otis Peterson, 5'11", 157 lbs, Jr.

    S

    25 Isiah Newsome, 5'11", 201 lbs, Jr.

    42 Roland Veal, 6'1", 189 lbs, So.

    S

    10 Cordero Smith, 6'0", 187 lbs, Jr.

    31 Henry Mitchell, 5'11" ,183 lbs, Sr.

    DB

    38 Mitch Lane, 6'0", 208 lbs, Fr. (Inj.)

    30 Brandon Hardy, 5'10", 202 lbs, Sr.

    Special Teams Depth Chart

    K

    17 Justin Manton, 6'2", 185 lbs, So.

    26 Caleb Gammel, 6'3", 192 lbs, Fr.

    P

    17 Justin Manton, 6'2", 185 lbs, So.

    26 Caleb Gammel, 6'3", 192 lbs, Fr.

    LS

    46 Madison Tharp, 6'0", 210 lbs, Jr.

    77 Ben Risenhoover, 6'2", 286 lbs, So.

    KR

    22 Cortney Davis, 5'9", 179 lbs, Fr.

    19 Tyler Cain, 5'8", 189 lbs, So.

    PR

    18 Brent Leonard, 6'2", 186 lbs, Sr.

    19 Tyler Cain, 5'8", 189 lbs, So.

Ohio Players to Watch: Tyler Tettleton, Beau Blankenship

5 of 10

    Quarterback Tyler Tettleton leads the way for the Bobcats this season, accounting for 2,513 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, 210 rushing yards, and four rushing touchdowns.

    Tettleton has also avoided the turnover bug this season, throwing just three picks in 2012.

    His passing attack is supplemented by one of the MAC's most prolific running backs in Beau Blankenship.

    Blankenship is second in the conference this season with 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns. The only player with more rushing yards this season in the MAC was Northern Illinois quarterback and Heisman dark horse candidate Jordan Lynch (who set an FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,771).

Louisiana-Monroe Players to Watch: Kolton Browning, Monterrell Washington

6 of 10

    Junior quarterback Kolton Browning has taken the lion's share of snaps for the Warhawks this season. He's thrown for a modest 2,830 yards, but improves his stock greatly with 27 passing TDs this season.

    As for the run game, ULM employs a running-by-committee system, partly due to the aforementioned loss of starting running back Jyruss Edwards earlier this season.

    Browning leads ULM in rushing with 441 yards and seven touchdowns while junior running back Monterrell Washington 352 yards and six scores.

    Freshman DeVontae McNeal is also available as a third option, averaging over 10 yards per carry this season in limited action.

Key Matchups

7 of 10

    The MAC isn't generally known for its prolific passing attacks.

    Ohio finished the regular season with the sixth-best pass defense in the conference, but still gave up an average of just 229.8 passing yards per game.

    For ULM, the Warhawks had the No. 2 passing attack in the Sun Belt this season, but managed less than 300 passing yards per game with 296.7.

    We'll be very interested to see exactly how Ohio's secondary stacks up against a quarterback with 27 passing touchdowns and nearly 3,000 passing yards on the season. Will Kolton Browning be able to light up the Bobcats' secondary?  How will Ohio respond to the kind of passing attack that is rarely seen in the MAC these days?

Ohio Will Win If...

8 of 10

    The Bobcats need big plays on defense.

    Throughout 2012, Ohio has been fairly unremarkable on defense. While the Bobcats finished the regular season with the No. 4 total defense in the MAC, Ohio was in the middle of the pack in each defensive category (rushing and passing, ranking sixth in each).

    Additionally, there were no real standout performances for Ohio on either side of the ball as evidenced by the lack of any Bobcats being named to the postseason All-MAC first teams.

    To win this bowl, someone will need to step up and have a special performance.

Louisiana-Monroe Will Win If...

9 of 10

    Louisiana-Monroe has been playing solid football for much of the season.

    Remember, this is a team that beat one SEC team and lost to another in overtime.

    With the exception of a pair of ugly losses to rivals in November, the Warhawks have looked every bit the quality bowl team they appear to be coming into this showdown in their home state with Ohio.

    The Warhawks should also be very fired up, playing in their first-ever bowl.  If ULM can play with the intensity we saw way back on September 8 when they shocked Arkansas, they we should see ULM win a bowl game on its first attempt.

Prediction

10 of 10

    Louisiana-Monroe has had as close to a story-book season as one could write.

    The Warhawks began 2012 with what was at the time a shocking upset of then-No. 8 Arkansas, and followed that up with a narrow loss to Auburn in overtime.

    ULM then went on a tear through the Sun Belt failing to drop a conference decision until November 3 to nemesis Louisiana-Lafayette.  Along the way, the Warhawks topped two other bowl teams: Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State.

    While Ohio is certainly solid, ULM simply has too many play-makers.  Combined with the intangibles and a likely home-field atmosphere, we're giving the nod to the Warhawks.

    Prediction: Louisiana-Monroe: 28, Ohio 17