ULM Quarterback Garrett Smith (Photo:ULM Athletics)
Auburn welcomes in ULM for homecoming on Saturday afternoon at 2:30PM.
The Warhawks enter the game with a 1-2 record, and 0-1 in the Sun Belt Conference. They are also in the first year of the Matt Viator era. Viator comes to ULM after a successful 10 year run as the Head Coach at McNeese State, where six of his Cowboy teams made it to postseason play.
The most recent game that ULM played, was a road contest at Georgia Southern. The Warhawks opened the game on a 14-0 run, before Georgia Southern scored 23 unanswered points, and fought off a comeback attempt. ULM fell to Georgia Southern in Statesboro, 23-21. The Warhawks have already played one power-5 team this season, in Oklahoma, which was a 59-17 defeat. Their lone win came in the season opener against Southern, 38-21.
The strong suit of the ULM offense, is their quarterback, Garrett Smith. Smith, a sophomore, is their leading passer, as well as leading rusher. Entering the game, he has completed 59 passes for 742 yards and 6 touchdowns. On the ground, he has 177 yards on 34 attempts, as well as 2 touchdowns. Smith has accounted for 919 total yards this season, which leads the team.
ULM runs a spread offense, as most Sun Belt teams do. They will send three-to-four receivers out in a package, with only one back. Ben Luckett will get the start at RB, with Duke Carter seeing playing time as well. Luckett is second on the team with 157 yards rushing, and a touchdown. His best game was against Southern, when he rushed for 110 yards.
Wide Receiver/Tight End:
ULM does not rush the ball much. Expect most of their yards to come through the air. 12 different Warhawks have caught a pass this season, with RJ Turner catching the most. Turner has 12 catches for 239 yards, and he is not even listed as a starter. Xavier Brown, Ajalen Holley, Tre’ Perrier, and D’Marcus Gillespie are listed on the depth chart at wide receiver. Another receiver to be aware of, is Marcus Green. Despite not being listed as a starter, Green has reeled in seven catches for 138 yards, and two touchdowns. Alec Osborne will be the tight end for ULM.
One side provides experience, while the other side is taking it all in. The left side of the ULM offense line has a junior, and a senior. While the right side features two redshirt freshmen. The center is a senior. From left to right, Rey Baltazar, Frank Sutton, Jeff Savage, Devin Jackson, and Jackson, Alabama native Eastwood Thomas.
Caleb Moorehead and Jaylen Veasley are the tackles, while Caleb Tucker and Shaquille Warren make up the defensive ends. Tucker leads the front in tackles with 12. Out of those 12, two of those have been sacks.
David Griffith leads the defense in tackles with 28. He has one sack, and 6 tackles for loss. He is the starter at will linebacker. The mike linebacker is Chase Day, and he is just as big of a threat as Griffith is. Day has 16.5 tackles, two sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss.
To round out this 4-2-5 set, here is a look at the ULM secondary. Justin Backus, Tre’ Hunter, Stephen Amoako, Marcus Hubbard, and Juwan Offray combined have made 52.5 of the total defenses tackles on the season.
Craig Ford will handle field goal kicking duties for the Warhawks. Ford is 2-of-3 on Field Goal Attempts, his longest being from 42 yards out. He is also 10-10 on extra points. Dayton Balvanz averages 43.2 yards per punt for ULM. Markis McCray and Marcus Green will return kicks. Green will also return punts for ULM. The Warhawks have not returned a kick, or a punt, for a touchdown this season.
As a team, ULM averages 25.3 points per game, while racking up an average of 411 yards. Defensively, the Warhawks give up an average of 477.3 yards per game, and 34.3 points per.
This will be the 10th meeting all time between Auburn and ULM, with Auburn winning all 9 previous meetings. The last meeting was in 2012, when Auburn defeated ULM in overtime, 31-28. Since 2000, these teams have met six times. The largest margin of defeat, was in 2003’s game, when Auburn defeated ULM, 73-7.
Kickoff for the next meeting is on Saturday at 2:30, inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.