ULM (5-5) at South Alabama (3-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ladd Peebles Stadium (40,646) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television: Sun Belt Net, ESPN3.com. Home Record: ULM 2-3, USA 2-2. Away Record: ULM 3-2, USA 1-4. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, USA 0-0. Conference Record: ULM 3-2, USA 1-3. Series Record: ULM leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The ULM Warhawks will try to become bowl eligible for the second straight season, as they travel to Mobile to take on the South Alabama Jaguars in a Sun Belt Conference bout at Ladd Peebles Stadium.
ULM had been winners of three in a row before losing its latest contest at home to Arkansas State on Nov. 9, 42-14. The setback dropped the team to 5-5 overall and 3-2 in conference. A win this week would make the Warhawks bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever after they went to the postseason for the first time a year ago when they accepted a bid to the Independence Bowl.
South Alabama (3-6, 1-3 Sun Belt), on the other hand, has not performed well since a promising 3-3 start to the season, as it has lost three games in a row. The Jaguars stepped out of conference a week ago to play Navy on the road, and they were easily handled in a 42-14 decision.
These two teams met for the first time last season in Monroe, with ULM staking claim to a 38-24 victory.
The Warhawks have been able to get to .500 in spite of their lackluster offense, which scores only 22.2 points per game on 365.6 yards per outing.
Kolton Browning has missed a few games due to injury, but even when he's on the field, he hasn't lived up to the hype of being named Preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. He has 19 total touchdowns, but he is completing just 55 percent of his passes for 1,736 yards and has thrown eight interceptions. His rushing total (171 yards) is also way down from last year's output (488 yards).
Following a 118-yard, two-touchdown performance in last week's loss, Rashon Ceaser now has 50 receptions, 716 yards and three scores on the season. Tavarese Maye has been a solid second option at receiver with 42 catches for 370 yards and a score.
The ground game for ULM has been stuck in neutral, picking up just 128.1 yards per game. Jyruss Edwards (430 yards, two TDs) and Centarius Donald (380 yards, three TDs) split the workload.
ULM's defense (29.8 ppg) has also not been up to snuff, and it has played especially poor in recent weeks by allowing 79 points in the last two games.
Isaiah Newsome has picked off four passes and he practically won the Oct. 12 contest at Texas State (21-14) all by himself with two pick-sixes. Cameron Blakes leads the team with 64 tackles, Hunter Kissinger has racked up 54 stops, 6.5 TFL, two interceptions and a sack, while Gerrand Johnson and Ray Stovall have both penetrated the line of scrimmage to the tune of 9.0 TFL apiece.
South Alabama's offense has been mediocre at best this season, ranking in the middle of the Sun Belt pack both in terms of scoring (27.7 ppg) and yardage (421.9 ypg), but things have sputtered in recent weeks as it has averaged just 15.0 points per game in its last two bouts. The unit only totaled 300 yards in the blowout loss to Navy.
For the most part, Ross Metheny has played well in his senior season, as he is completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,977 yards and 11 touchdowns paired with just six interceptions. He also possesses the ability to tuck the ball away and run, adding 382 rushing yards and eight more TDs to his resume'.
Metheny spreads the ball out to several receivers, with Wes Saxton, Shavarez Smith, Jereme Jones and Danny Woodson all registering at least 26 grabs and 350 yards. Smith and Woodson have both hauled in four touchdowns.
Jay Jones (90 carries, 468 yards, three TDs) is the most utilized back for a team that rushes for 158 yards per game.
Defensively, the Jaguars have had a tough time keeping opposing teams off the scoreboard (29.2 ppg). Their 11 takeaways in nine games is also below average.
Enrique Williams has registered 85 tackles to lead the unit, while Montell Garner has 48 stops, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. The strength of the defense comes up front, where Alex Page (11.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks), Romelle Jones (9.0 TFL, 5.0 sacks) and Pat Moore (7.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, FF) have all performed well.
It hasn't always been pretty, but ULM has somehow been able to overcome poor seasons on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball to cling to a .500 record. The Warhawks, who have been surprisingly good on the road (3-2), will find a way to deliver a few big plays to put away the floundering Jaguars.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: ULM 30, South Alabama 27
11/20 10:55:21 ET