Arkansas State Red Wolves (1-3 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (3-2 SU, 3-1 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, October 13, 2009, Malone Stadium, Monroe, La. TV: ESPN2
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Arkansas State -1/UL Monroe +1
Over/Under: Opened at 54. Currently at 53.
Arkansas State is as tested as any team in the Sun Belt Conference. The Red Wolves have faced a pair of nationally ranked teams on the road and a team tied for first in the Sun Belt, so travelling to Louisiana-Monroe for a Tuesday night battle on national TV will be nothing special for Arkansas State.
The Red Wolves are fresh off a near upset victory at Iowa on October 3. Down 21-7 in the fourth quarter, Arkansas State defensive back Demario Davis intercepted a pass from Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. After an Iowa field goal made it a 10-point game, Arkansas State quarterback Corey Leonard threw a 4-yard TD pass to Trevor Gillott to pull the Red Wolves within a field goal, 24-21. That’s how the game ended, but it was certainly an encouraging result for Arkansas State.
In that game, the Red Wolves didn’t get a whole lot of offensive production. Leonard threw for 216 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and they ran for 80 yards as a team. It was the defense that kept them in the game.
Since its opening 61-0 win over Mississippi Valley State, the Red Wolves have also lost at Nebraska and at home to conference rival Troy. In the 30-27 loss to Troy, they gave up 355 passing yards to the opposing quarterback. The Red Wolves ran for just 70 yards and Leonard was 12-for-24 for 190 yards. Three forced turnovers helped them stay in the game.
Arkansas State has a solid rush defense, allowing 3.4 yards per carry. That’s quite impressive considering the Red Wolves’ schedule thus far. Louisiana-Monroe is just as good against the run, allowing 3.3 yards per carry.
Louisiana-Monroe comes into this game at 2-0, tied for first place in the Sun Belt with Troy. The Warhawks are coming off a 48-35 win over Florida International. They held FIU to 70 rushing yards but allowed 314 passing yards. Warhawks QB Trey Revell was 19-for-35 for 273 yards and a touchdown. They controlled the game on the ground, where they ran for a total of 304 yards. Running back Frank Goodin led the way with 163 yards on 19 carries.
ULM’s offense has been effective all season long. The Warhawks even scored 20 points against powerhouse Texas in their opening game, a 59-20 loss. Their only two losses thus far are to Texas and Arizona State.
In five games, Revell has 1,041 passing yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions, plus another 185 yards on the ground with three rushing touchdowns. Goodin has 461 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. On the Arkansas State side, in four games, Leonard has thrown for 666 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Reggie Arnold leads the ground attack with 283 yards and seven touchdowns.
Neither one of these teams will be able to dominate on the ground, so it will come down to the passing games. In that aspect, Louisiana-Monroe is a better team. Leonard won’t turn the ball over much and the Red Wolves will try to control the ball, but Revell will be more aggressive and try to throw the ball down the field. It should be a passing battle, and the edge certainly goes to Revell and the Warhawks. Arkansas State will stay in the game with solid defense and try to force some turnovers.
Arkansas State is 1-7 ATS in its last eight road games, with its only ATS win in that span being the three-point loss at Iowa. The Red Wolves are also 1-7 SU in their last eight road games. Eight of their last 10 road games have gone under. ULM is 4-1 SU in its last five home games. The Warhawks are also 5-1 ATS in their last six games against Arkansas State, despite the fact that the Red Wolves are 5-2 SU in the last seven games between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick: Arkansas State’s defense has been very solid this season, so it’s unlikely it will ever be out of a game this season. But Louisiana-Monroe’s offense has certainly been better than Arkansas State’s offense. Both quarterbacks should be able to move the ball effectively and the game could be high-scoring. The notion that the Warhawks have the better passing game and are 5-1 ATS in the last six games between these teams gives them the advantage. Take Louisiana-Monroe +1.