OHIO BOBCATS (8-4)
vs. LOUISIANA-MONROE WARHAWKS (8-4)
Independence Bowl - Shreveport, LA
Kickoff: Friday, 2:00 p.m. EDT
Line: UL-Monroe -7, Total: 61
Louisiana-Monroe makes its first postseason appearance in Friday's Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA when it faces a slumping Ohio team.
Ohio has dropped four of its five games, including three in a row, while ULM enters this game with two straight victories. The Warhawks have played four overtime games this year, including wins versus Arkansas and at Western Kentucky, which just played in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. UL-Monroe QB Kolton Browning has 297 total YPG of offense while throwing for 27 TD and just 7 INT this season. The Bobcats are just 1-5 ATS in non-home games, but also have an excellent quarterback in Tyler Tettleton (16 pass TD, 3 INT) who completed 19-of-26 passes for 220 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT, while rushing for the game-winning TD with 13 seconds left to win last year's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl over Utah State, 24-23.
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Tettleton hasn't been great during his team's three-game slide, throwing for just 6.1 yards per pass attempt with only one of his 101 throws resulting in a touchdown. His team has just 15.7 PPG during the skid, a far cry from the 35.6 PPG over the first nine games this year. However, Tettleton has thrown just three picks all season despite airing out the football 345 times. His favorite receiver by a wide margin is Donte Foster, who has more than double the amount of receiving yards (629) than any teammate (Bakari Bussey 313 yards). Foster also has 7 TD catches with the next highest Bobcats players tallying just three scores. Tettleton's rushing numbers (210 yds, 4 TD) have dropped considerably from last year (666 yds, 10 TD), but a lot of that has to do with the emergence of junior RB Beau Blankenship who ranks 9th in the nation with 125 rushing YPG. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight of his 12 games, piling up 312 yards on 50 carries (6.2 YPC) and 3 TD in the past two games alone. He was also decent in last year's Humanitarian Bowl win, gaining 47 yards on 11 carries. Ohio's defense doesn't have a lot of standout statistics, giving up 25.7 PPG (52nd in nation), 395 total YPG (63rd in FBS) and tallying only 1.7 sacks per game (T-79th in nation). The Bobcats have surrendered 80 points and 965 total yards in their past two losses at Ball State and at Kent State.
Browning certainly has had some huge outputs this year (seven 250-yard passing games), and after missing the majority of his team's two losses to start November with a foot injury, he came back with 542 passing yards and 6 total TD in the past two games. Senior WR Brent Leonard (97 catches, 7th in nation) has become the top receiving threat for the Warhawks, piling up 55 receptions for 619 yards (124 per game) and 7 TD over his past five games. Browning also leads the Warhawks in rushing yards with 441. Defensively, ULM loves to go after the football, forcing at least one turnover in every game, and 2+ turnovers in nine of 12 contests, tallying 15 interceptions on the year. That helps combat a defense allowing 272 YPG through the air (107th in nation) and 407 total YPG (73rd in FBS).