Who: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at Auburn Tigers Who: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at Auburn Tigers

Auburn Football: Auburn vs. UL-Monroe Preview and Prediction


Who: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at Auburn Tigers

When: 11:21 a.m. CT (SEC Network)

Where: Auburn, Alabama

All-time series record: Auburn leads 8-0-0

Most recent meeting: Auburn 52, UL-Monroe 3 (2010)

Let’s go back to August.

If I had told you that coming into the Auburn-ULM game that one team was flying high after a big road win over an SEC West foe while the other was reeling after being blown out on the road against another SEC west team, you would have guessed Auburn was the team flying high. You would have guessed incorrectly.

Auburn is reeling after an 0-2 start while UL-Monroe has received Top 25 votes after an epic comeback win over #8 Arkansas. Some Tigers fans have been so angry over the start that they want Gene Chizik fired (which, by the way, is absurd… for now). Monroe, Louisiana finally has something other than “Duck Dynasty” going for it. Auburn comes into this game a 17.5-point favorite, making even the most delusional, die-hard Tiger fan scratch their head wondering how anyone could see Auburn winning this game by 17 points.

If Auburn wants to get their first win of the year and avoid giving UL-Monroe a fictional lead in the SEC West, here is what they have to do:

Key for Auburn: Be creative in play-calling. This isn’t a tune-up game. The last thing this team needs is a vanilla gameplan. This is a huge game for both programs. Scot Loeffler must be more creative in play-calling than he has been in the first two games. We don’t need to see a bunch of short runs and screen passes. We’re only two games in and Auburn fans are absolutely sick of those plays. This offense needs more slants, deep throws, etc. But the power running still needs to be there. The offense holds the key in this game. Sure, Arkansas’ defense was terrible against UL-Monroe, but it was the inability of the Hogs offense to move the ball in the second half that let the Warhawks rally from a 28-7 hole. This offense needs to not only be above average, but explode for plenty of yards and points. If Auburn has under 400 yards of offense, this could be another overtime game.

Key for UL-Monroe: Stay grounded. Of course, this shouldn’t be hard for a program like this. It’s hard to imagine this team being cocky. Still, after beating #8 Arkansas on the road, these players are on cloud nine right now. UL-Monroe must immediately refocus and move on to the Auburn Tigers. If they come into this game with the swagger of expecting to win just because they beat Arkansas, they may suffer the fate they were expected to suffer against Arkansas.

Auburn player to watch: Kiehl Frazier. He had perhaps the worst game ever played by an Auburn QB last Saturday. He went 13-22 for 125 yards (1-7 for -2 yards in the first half) and had five turnovers. It’s time to see if he’s really going to improve or if he’s as truly bad as advertised. UL-Monroe’s defense is no laughing matter, so Frazier had better bring his A-game.

UL-Monroe player to watch: Kolton Browning. On the flip side of Kiehl Frazier, Browning had the best day for any QB in UL-Monroe history. In their historic upset of Arkansas, Browning was 42/67 for 412 yards and three touchdowns. The Warhawk offense as a whole gained 550 yards, 30 first downs and went 6-7 on 4th down. Auburn’s secondary has been weak so far this year (shocking, isn’t it?) so Browning’s stat line vs. Arkansas should be terrifying to Auburn’s players.

Auburn vs. UL-Monroe edges:

Quarterback: UL-Monroe

Running back: Auburn

Wide receiver: UL-Monroe

Tight end: Auburn

Offensive line: Auburn

Defensive line: Auburn

Linebackers: UL-Monroe

Cornerbacks: UL-Monroe

Safeties: Auburn

Kicker: Auburn

Punter: Auburn

Coaching: Auburn (…we think…)

Interesting facts: Auburn is 8-0 vs. UL-Monroe…. In the past three meetings between these two teams (2004, 2008, 2010), Auburn has won by a combined score of 117-6…. UL-Monroe hasn’t scored a touchdown against Auburn in the past 13 quarters…. If UL-Monroe wins, that would give them wins over Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas since 2007…. Auburn is 0-2 for the first time since 2003. That team went 8-5. Auburn went undefeated the next year. (Yes, this is a sunshine pump.)

Prediction: If you’re a Tiger fan, this game should scare you. UL-Monroe is confident while Auburn is reeling. If the Tigers lose this game, kiss any shot at a bowl game goodbye. With the pressure on, I see a dramatic change in style offensively. Maybe this is the week Kiehl Frazier calms down and plays with confidence. The defense… well, every time I predict they will play better, they just continue to regress, so the defense will once again play rather poorly. But the Tigers will win this game. They have to win this game.

Auburn Tigers 31, UL-Monroe Warhawks 23

Other SEC predictions:

#1 Alabama 41, Arkansas 23

#23 Tennessee 31, #18 Florida 13

#3 LSU 49, Idaho 0

#8 South Carolina 52, UAB 17

#7 Georgia 34, Florida Atlantic 0

Texas A&M 38, SMU 20

#14 Texas 35, Ole Miss 27

Missouri 38, Arizona State 24

Mississippi State 30, Troy 26

Western Kentucky 14, Kentucky 13

Vanderbilt 31, Presbyterian 3

Predictions for other notable games:

#2 USC 44, #21 Stanford 28

#10 Michigan State 26, #20 Notre Dame 13

#25 BYU 35, Utah 17

#12 Ohio State 45, California 10

#13 Virginia Tech 34, Pitt 10

Upset Special: Kansas 28, #16 TCU 27 (Yes, I am that bold.)

Auburn badly needs a win this Saturday. Next week, #3 LSU comes to Jordan-Hare, and if Auburn is 0-3 going in to that game, Auburn could be staring an 0-6 start dead in the face. They MUST beat UL-Monroe. War Eagle.