ULM Focus Will Be On Knighten

Football is a team sport and not a one man show, but ULM is likely to try make Saturday’s game about one player.

After reviewing the stats from ULM’s four games and comparing how Louisiana-Monroe and their opponents did against each other and then comparing those numbers to the season averages so far of those schools a few things jump out.

First, as you probably already know or have heard, ULM is very effective against the run. The Warhawks are 21st in the nation in rushing defense giving up an average of 103.8 yards per game on the ground. Second they are doing very well in passing defense, ranked 33rd in passing yards per game given up at 211.

Finally that averages out 314.8 yards per game and rather impressively places ULM at 21st in the nation in yards given up.

So the Warhawks are a defensive beast?

Maybe not.

Those numbers are badly skewed by playing Wake Forest. That 314.8 yard average in yards given up is an impressive number but Wake Forest is the only team they have held under 350 yards of offense. Idaho PASSED for 324 amd Troy passed for 270 of their 351 yards (the second lowest number of yards given up by ULM).

Throw out the Wake Forest game and ULM’s defense is giving up 388 yards per game.

Before those numbers inspire too much confidence you need to look at what the formula for moving the ball on ULM has been.

That formula is an effective passing game. Not so much throwing the deep ball but getting the ball out of the traffic around the line of scrimmage and into space on the sides and over the middle. I expect AState will try to push the ball deeper vertically to push the ULM secondary even harder.

ULM will attack defensively very similar to how Utah State did. That means seven and eight are coming to clog the rushing lanes but more importantly to get QB pressure.

The Warhawks are 5th in the nation in sacks with 17 after four games. On average opponents are losing 32 yards of offense per game to sacks and a total of 35.75 yards per game to tackles for loss.

Those numbers are bad for AState. The Red Wolves are 115th in the country in sacks allowed giving up just over 3 per game and giving up 33.75 yards per game in tackles for loss.

You should expect ULM is going to dare Fredi Knighten to beat them through the air. They want the sack or a pick caused by a hurry but if they can get a hurry and an incompletion they will be happy.

If Arkansas State can hit enough passes to pull the heat out of the line of scrimmage, it could be a big huge day for the AState offense. If ULM can’t get sufficient pressure to disrupt the passing game and has to back off, that should open up the run game.

This will be a key game in the development of Fredi Knighten. If he is able to meet the challenge, the Red Wolves will be well positioned going into the upcoming three game road swing.