By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
Things are looking good for the South Alabama Jaguars (2-2; 1-0 in Sun Belt play) as they started conference play with a 30-20 home win over the Texas State Bobcats last weekend. The Jaguars have a chance to extend their record and climb higher in the conference standings as they take on the worst team in the conference in the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (0-5; 0-2 in Sun Belt play).
The Jaguars are looking to get revenge on the Warhawks after their tough 30-17 loss on the road last season. Jaguars head coach Steve Campbell is looking to get his first win over the Warhawks in his third year with South Alabama. This is the perfect time to get that win as the Jaguars have a huge edge in the game thanks to their dynamic offense, specifically their running game.
South Alabama will rely on their star running back in Carlos Davis, who rushed for over 100-yard in the Jags’ last two games. The Jaguars offense knows they could be more efficient with their blocking schemes as they are the 59th ranked offense (131.2 rushing yards per game) in the nation. The Warhawks defense is one of the worst in the nation in defending the rushing game. The Warhawks rank 74th in the country in rushing yards allowed per game (261.6) and have given up 17 rushing touchdowns in five games. This game could be a big game for Davis against this weak Warhawks defense.
The passing offense could also find some success against Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday. The Warhawks haven’t faced a talented passing offense this season as they are currently ranked 21st in the nation in passing yards (262.2). Flex wide receiver Kawaan Baker could find himself having a big game with diverse routes and runs after catches. Quarterback Desmond Trotter and wide receiver Jalen Tolbert are a matchup nightmare together, which will create problems against ULM.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars will have to be cautious against ULM. Although they average 13.4 points per game (second-worst of teams who have played two or more games), they have the potential to put the Jaguars on upset alert. Last year, the Warhawks scored 30 points and outgained the Jaguars 428-to-377 in total yards accounted with 286 of them coming from the passing game. The Jaguars will have to be more aware of key matchups in this game. Jaguars cornerbacks Ryan Melton and Devin Rockette have been highly efficient man coverage players while safeties Keith Gallmon and Tre Young are great zone-read players.
This will be a big game for two of the most productive linebackers in the Sun Belt in weakside linebacker Nick Mobley and pass-rushing specialist Riley Cole. Both players lead the team in total tackles accounted for. Mobley will need to be efficient in reading the passing or running plays of the Warhawks this Saturday. Mobley has accounted for 39 total tackles and 12 solo tackles this season. Cole leads the team in total tackles accounted for with 40 and tackles for loss with three. He and defensive end Jeremiah Littles can have a productive game by forcing Louisiana-Monroe’s into bad situations. The Warhawks’ offense has only converted a horrible 20% on third down conversions for a first down (14-of-69).
South Alabama is currently a 14.5-point favor over Louisiana-Monroe, which is, by far, the most this season. The Jaguars will kick off their game against ULM in Hancock Whitney Stadium this Saturday at 6 p.m. televised on ESPN+ with radio coverage on 97.1 FM – The Prowl.