ULM (1-2) at Tulane (0-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 29, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (73,208) -- New Orleans, Louisiana. Television: CST. Home Record: ULM 0-1, Tulane 0-2. Away Record: ULM 0-1, Tulane 0-1. Neutral Record: ULM 1-0, Tulane 0-0. Conference Record: ULM 0-0, Tulane 0-1. Series Record: Tulane leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Tulane Green Wave will try to find the win column for the first time in more than a calendar year on Saturday afternoon when they play host to the ULM Warhawks.
Because of its incredibly difficult non-conference schedule out of the chute, ULM's start to the 2012 season has been much more impressive than its 1-2 record would suggest. The campaign started with a 34-31 win over nationally- ranked Arkansas, one of the most impressive wins in Sun Belt conference history. The Warhawks followed that up with two hard-fought battles against BCS schools, but ultimately lost to Auburn (31-28 in OT) and Baylor (47-42). Last week's game against the Bears was the team's home opener, played in front of a record-setting crowd of 31,175 at Malone Stadium.
Tulane's disappointing 2011 season has rolled right into the start of this year, with losses at home against Rutgers (24-12) and on the road versus Tulsa (45-10). The campaign reached new lows in last week's matchup against Ole Miss, which it lost, 39-0. It was the first time the Green Wave had been shut out since Nov. 21, 2009 when it lost to UCF in a 49-0 final. The team has now lost 13 straight games dating back to last season.
The Green Wave have won both previous meetings with ULM, with the last coming in September of 2008 (24-10).
The ULM offense has been put to the test in the early going against a handful of impressive defensive units, and it has not only held its own but has looked spectacular in the process, averaging 34.7 points and 506.7 yards per contest.
Kolton Browning has not only made a name for himself with his outstanding numbers, but he also has shown a knack for late-game heroics. The junior quarterback is one of the top dual-threats in the nation, piling up 307 passing yards and 58.7 rushing yards per game. He also has 11 total touchdowns paired with just two interceptions.
Jyruss Edwards is the featured back for ULM (53 carries, 232 yards, two TDs) and he's coming off a season-best 120 yards against Baylor. After seeing just one carry through the first two game, Monterrell Washington also looked great against the Bears (seven carries, 86 yards, two TDs), and he is expected to help bolster the running game moving forward.
Browning spreads the ball to many receivers, with 13 different players having already caught a pass. Je'Ron Hamm, Colby Harper, Tavarese Maye and Brent Leonard make up one of the most feared receiving corps in the conference, each having more than 180 yards receiving through three games.
While the offense has shined against difficult competition, the defense has been oftentimes overmatched, allowing 36.3 ppg on nearly 450 yards per game.
The strength of the unit is in the secondary, which has made five interceptions, led by DaCorris Ford with two.
The front seven hasn't done much in terms of making plays behind the line of scrimmage. The team has recorded just seven tackles for loss and two sacks.
Anyway you look at it, Tulane has the worst offense in the FBS through three games, ranking last among all qualifying schools in both scoring offense (7.3 ppg) and total offense (199.3 ypg).
Ryan Griffin has put together a very good completion rate of .672 (41-of-61), but those completions have resulted in just 314 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Freshman Devin Powell has also seen plenty of action under center, but he has performed even worse (30-of-57, 255 yards, TD, three INTs).
Ryan Grant has been one of the lone bright spots on the team, hauling in 17 receptions of 274 yards and a touchdown. No other player has more than 62 receiving yards.
To say that the Tulane running game has been non-existent would be an understatement. The Green Wave has netted a minuscule 29 yards rushing, which is in large part due to the 14 sacks the quarterbacks have taken. Rob Kelley (31 carries, 81 yards) has had difficulty finding holes through porous offensive line.
The offensive struggles have certainly not helped the defense, which is allowing 36 points per game. The unit showed some promise in their last outing however, forcing three fumbles against Ole Miss.
Zach Davis leads the defense with 20 tackles and also has one of the team's three sacks. Austen Jakes has made a habit out of making plays in the backfield, recording three tackles for a loss.
Despite its 1-2 record, ULM has shown great promise against some of the better teams in the nation. With Browning running the ship, the Warhawks can score on just about anyone, especially Tulane, which once again appears to be in disarray to start the 2012 campaign.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: ULM 42, Tulane 17
09/26 10:34:16 ET