Louisiana Monroe is 1-0 on the season with a 31-9 victory over Grambling State.
This Saturday at 5 PM on the ACC Network the Seminoles will play the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The last time FSU played ULM was on December 2, 2017 in Tallahassee. FSU prevailed 42-10 in one of Coach Odell Haggins two career victories.
Observations from last game
All week people have been trying to figure what led to FSU blowing an 18-point lead to Boise State. There were a number of reasons, like Boise State’s ball control – 108 plays in 40 minutes, mental errors and the heat, but the main reason was that the Broncos were just better Saturday.
BSU has a talented, well-coached and experienced team that didn’t get too high or too low and just kept playing no matter what the score was. Boise is just one of three teams that returned all five starting offensive linemen. Boise State may very well end up undefeated and in a New Years six bowl game.
Bright spots for the ‘Noles:
The special teams looked a lot better than last year. Ricky Agauyo and Logan Tyler kicked it well and the return teams did not commit any penalties.
The offense was more creative, which helped lead to some huge plays. The creativity seemed to be lacking from the last drive of the second quarter on.
The mental mistakes were not as frequent and the penalties were down to just 5. Although two penalties were on the last play, including a too many men in the backfield penalty.
Florida State offense versus Louisiana Monroe defense
FSU has struggled with quick pass rushers off the edge in recent years but that should not be much of an issue against Louisiana Monroe. Warhawks coach Matt Viator has suspended their best pass rusher, Kerry Starks, for allegedly spitting on an opponent last week. Last season he racked up 6 sacks. This is bad news for ULM especially considering the fact that they had one of the worst defensive performances against the run versus Grambling in which they gave up 243 yards.
Despite the bad day against the run Warhawk linebacker Chase Day recorded 12 tackles and an interception. The rest of the ULM front 7 is undersized so the Seminole O-line should be able to control the line of scrimmage. I expect the offense to try to run it as much as possible due to the size differential. Cam Akers and Khalan Laborn will get at least 15 carries each.
When the offense decides to throw, James Blackman and Tamarrion Terry will try to target redshirt freshman cornerback Josh Newton. This side of the ball looks like a mismatch on paper with size, speed and talent but it remains to be seen if FSU can stay consistent enough to score a lot of points.
Florida state defense versus Louisiana Monroe offense
When Louisiana Monroe is having a good game on offense they like to run the ball more than they throw it. Caleb Evans is a dual threat but sometimes he holds the ball too long which leads to sacks. As a sophomore against Florida State, Evans threw for 262 yards and ran for 25 yards.
The Warhawks like to get the ball to Markis McCray as much as they can. In the season opener against Grambling they tried to get him the ball in every way possible, including screens and jet sweeps.
ULM runs the ball quite a bit and the duo of Austin Vaughn and Josh Johnson get the lion’s share of carries at running back. Louisiana Monroe has a massive and experienced O-line but they are not as agile as most lines the Seminoles will face this year. Since the Warhawks line is so big it will be important for the inside linebackers Dontavious Jackson and Jaiden Lars-Woodbey to not get sucked in on running plays to prevent them from bouncing outside. Defensive tackle Corey Durden will need to use his quickness rather than his power to put pressure on Evans.
Hopefully the redshirt freshman from Tallahassee, Amari Gainer, can build off of his impressive debut and make some plays off the edge. In game one Gainer was the only outside linebacker that was more natural against the pass and put a couple big hits on the quarterback as well. According to Coach Barnett the defense will ease off of playing 3-4 and play more 4-3 to help out players like Joshua Kaindoh and Janarius Robinson.
Agauyo made a 46-yard field goal in his only chance in the season opener. Tyler had a very solid game from the kickoff and punter positions. Louisiana Monroe punter Jared Porter had a good season last year with 11 punts downed inside the 20 but was not needed in week 1. First-time field-goal kicker Jacob Meeks was 1 for 2.
I expect this game to play out like the 2017 regular season finale with lots of running plays being called by both sides. Louisiana Monroe and FSU will have more possessions due to the Seminoles employing the hurry up and spread offense, which will mean more points for each team. The Seminoles should be more consistent on offense this week by staying more balanced and could score around 50 points. The Warhawks will score some points, but I don’t think it will be enough to keep the home team from covering the 21-point spread. I’ll say FSU 47 Louisiana Monroe 20.