Independence Bowl 2012: Top Reasons You Can't Miss Ohio vs. LA-Monroe

Benjamin Klein@BenjaminJKleinContributor IIIDecember 28, 2012

Will Louisiana-Monroe or Ohio come out victorious?
Will Louisiana-Monroe or Ohio come out victorious?Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Independence Bowl between Ohio and Louisiana-Monroe may not be the biggest eye-catcher on the bowl game docket, but it’s a contest that everyone is going to be talking about once it’s over.

Ohio has had a crazy, crazy season. The Bobcats kicked off the season with a 10-point victory over scandal-ridden Penn State and went on to win seven straight games. However, they would run into trouble during the final chunk of their schedule, dropping four of their final five matchups of the season.

Louisiana-Monroe also opened up 2012 with a bang, defeating No. 8 Arkansas in overtime in its season opener. The Warhawks tried to keep the momentum alive against Auburn, but ended up losing by a field goal in overtime. They would get hot midseason, going on a five-game win streak, but they closed out their season with just two wins in their last four games.

Here are a few reasons why you can’t afford to miss this matchup between the Bobcats and Warhawks.


Kolton Browning’s Versatility

Kolton Browning is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation that no one is talking about.

Browning has thrown for 2,830 yards and 27 touchdowns while also running for 441 yards and seven touchdowns despite missing the Bobcats’ matchup against Arkansas State and nearly all of the game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Browning is a tough kid who hates to get tackled for a loss. He uses his legs to create space and make big plays down the field. Expect to see several attempts downfield against the Ohio defense.


Ohio Run Game

Most of Ohio’s success this season has been due to a running game that averages 202 yards per game, which ranks 28th in the nation (via ESPN).

The duo of Beau Blankenship and Ryan Boykin has been nearly unstoppable this season, accumulating over 2,100 themselves. Each averages over five yards per carry and has big-play ability, as each has a 50-plus-yard run this season.

Blankenship is the guy who’ll be featured the most against the Warhawks, as he’s run for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns on nearly 300 carries in 2012.


Shootout Potential

This game could end up going either team’s way, but it will definitely be a high-scoring affair. The line on the Independence Bowl is 60 (via ESPN), and for good reason.

Louisiana-Monroe and Ohio both average over 30 points per game while allowing around 26 points per game. Browning has totaled at least four touchdowns in a game five times this season, while Blankenship’s game high this season is three scores.

Just by looking at the numbers, there’s a real chance that this game reaches at least 60 points without even going into overtime.