Friday Night Lights
September 21, 2012
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BAYLOR BEARS (2-0) at LOUISIANA-MONROE WARHAWKS (1-1)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Baylor -7.5 & 70
Opening Line & Total: Bears -7.5 & 68.5
Upset minded Louisiana-Monroe looks for another stunning win over a BCS school when it hosts unbeaten Baylor on Friday night.
ULM has taken two straight SEC schools to overtime, beating Arkansas at home and losing at Auburn. Baylor, which has never played ULM, is 2-9 in road openers. The Bears actually trailed Sam Houston State 20-10 at halftime last week before outscoring them 38-3 in the second half. This game features two of nation's offensive leaders in Baylor QB Nick Florence (379 total YPG, 7 passing TD) and Warhawks QB Kolton Browning, who has 388 total YPG and eight total touchdowns (four in each game).
ULM showed that its win at Arkansas was no fluke by taking Auburn to overtime as well. Now the Warhawks open their home season against a Bears defense that doesn't appear to be any better than last year's horrific unit that gave up 37.2 PPG and 489 total YPG. So far this season, Baylor has surrendered 459 total YPG despite playing at home against weak opponents SMU and Sam Houston State.
Florence has filled the shoes of departed Robert Griffin III rather nicely. Florence threw four touchdown passes in Baylor's season opener against SMU and then tossed three more in the comeback win over Sam Houston State, piling up 392 yards of offense against the Bearkats. Senior RB Jarred Salubi has also done a nice job in his attempt to replace Terrance Ganaway, who had 21 rushing touchdowns last year. Salubi has scored just once, but has a team-high 174 rushing yards on just 30 carries (5.8 YPC).
One familiar face that returned to the program is senior WR Terrance Williams, who has back-to-back games of 130+ receiving yards, totaling 269 yards on 13 catches and two touchdowns. Baylor's defense has surrendered 324 passing YPG (8th-most in FBS), but it has also forced seven turnovers in the two games.
Browning has shown great courage in his two performances on the road against top SEC schools. After compiling a ridiculous 481 total yards and 4 TD against Arkansas in Little Rock, he came back strong last week with 295 total yards and four more scores, including a pair of TD passes in the final 6:15 in regulation to send the game to overtime. Browning has succeeded with great distribution among his receivers. Four different ULM players already have more than 10 catches this season: Brent Leonard (18), Tavarese Maye (13), Je'Ron Hamm (11) and Colby Harper (11) -- while three other lesser-targeted players have four touchdowns as part of their six combined receptions.
The rushing offense is basically comprised of Browning and Jyruss Edwards (112 rush yds, 1 TD), who have combined for 62 of the team's 76 carries this year. Two areas in which the Warhawks need major improvement are returning kicks (9.5 yards per kick return, 2nd-worst in FBS) and getting into the opponents' backfield, considering their four Tackles For Loss are the lowest such total in the nation and the defense has tallied only two sacks.
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