Louisiana Monroe Warhawks (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. No. 12 Alabama Crimson Tide (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date/Time: Saturday September 26th, 4:00PM EST
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ULM +38/ALA -38
Over/Under Total: TBA
A week after their 2nd straight loss to Ole Miss, the Alabama Crimson Tide will get a chance to rebound with a big matchup with Georgia looming on the horizon. The Crimson Tide dropped from number 2 down to the 12th spot in the AP Poll but the good news is that Alabama was in this same position a year ago. After an early loss to Ole Miss, Alabama rattled off 8 straight victories including the SEC Championship to make the College Football Playoffs party. This week Alabama starts down a similar path as 38 point favorites at home against Louisiana Monroe.
The Warhawks have already faced one of the big teams in the SEC this season in their opener against a Georgia team that Alabama will faceoff with next week in Athens. In the opener, Georgia had their way against Louisiana Monroe with 243 rushing yards in route to a 51-14 beating. Despite the large loss, Louisiana Monroe still managed to keep it within the 35.5 point spread against the Bulldogs and the question this week is can they do it again against an Alabama team coming off of their first loss of the season?
It would be fairly easy to see Alabama come out to this game with little motivation after a heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss and in a game they should win easily. I guess the motivation factor will have a lot to do with how ugly this game gets. Despite last weeks loss, Alabama has still been a great offensive team scoring a minimum of 35 points in each game so far this season. The Crimson Tide are average over 500 yards per game for the first time in the Nick Saban era. Running back Derrick Henry continues to show that he is one of the best backs in the SEC. Henry racked up 127 yards against an outstanding Ole Miss defense last week and scored his 7th touchdown in just 3 games.
Alabamas rushing attack is one of the most feared in the conference with Henry and Kenyan Drake sharing touches in the backfield. Before last week, quarterback Jake Coker appeared that he would pick up where Blake Sims left off last year. However in his first big test of the season, Coker struggled to hit his targets completing just 21 of 45 passing for 201 yards with 3 scores and 2 picks. It was rather surprising to see the offense put so much pressure on Coker last week especially considering the strength of the Alabama ground attack alone with Nick Sabans tendency to keep the ball on the ground. However, Cokers number was called more than expected and it will be interesting to see how the senior improves throughout the year.
As for the matchup this week, Louisiana Monroe has an outstanding athlete in quarterback Garrett Smith. Smith has been pinpoint accurate hitting 79% of his passes this season for 576 yards with 5 touchdowns and 1 pick. Smith has also been 2nd on the team in rushing. The freshman quarterback was actually very good against Georgia hitting 23 of 29 passes for 2 scores and 1 pick. Louisiana Monroe does not have much of a rushing threat behind Smith so I highly doubt they try to attack with the run against Alabamas size upfront. However if the Alabama defense comes out sleeping, Smith can make the plays to get their attention.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I am sure Alabama will not have any trouble moving the football but I believe 1-2 scores by the Warhawks will keep them within the number similar to the way they covered against Georgia. I also believe this game could be close early with the ability of Garrett Smith to hit some passes which will allow the Louisiana Monroe offense to sustain some type of time with the football. Eventually Alabama will pull away thanks to a big day running the football but ULM will get the cover. Take the Warhawks +38!
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