The Baylor Bears, undefeated and in the running for a Big 12 title, host Louisiana-Monroe Saturday. ULM brought us a lot of entertainment last season, upending Arkansas and coming close to beating both Auburn and Baylor. The Warhawks have another shot at the Bears this weekend, but oddsmakers aren't expecting a repeat of last year's 47-42 shootout.
ULM's offense has been iffy thus far, which is one reason why the team is a heavy underdog. The Warhawks are averaging about 10 fewer points per game thus far while averaging a modest five yards per snap. Baylor has had no such issues. Granted, the Bears haven't played anyone of note, but an average of 69.5 points per game and and 9.7 yards per play is impressive in any context.
The Warhawks are not without threats of their own, and they have an experienced quarterback in Kolton Browning. If they can't slow down that Baylor attack, though, they may not be in this one for long.
Rankings and records: Baylor comes in at 2-0 overall, while ULM is 2-1. The Bears are No. 20 in the AP Poll and No. 19 in the Coaches' Poll. These teams have met once before, the aforementioned 47-42 Baylor win last season.
Vegas: Baylor opened as a comfortable 30-point favorite.
Weather: The high is expected to hit 87, and there is a 20 percent chance of rain.
Three names to know
Lache Seastrunk -- Depending on how Baylor's season goes, Seastrunk is one guy who could become a serious Heisman contender. He already has five rushing touchdowns this season, and he's averaging 9.3 yards per carry.
Kolton Browning -- ULM had problems establishing its ground game against Wake Forest last weekend, and if that is the case again, expect Browning to be very busy. He threw 68 passes against the Demon Deacons, though there weren't a lot of big plays to be had. Browning and the offense need to be more explosive this week.
Bryce Petty -- Petty has been incredibly effective in his first year as the starting quarterback in Waco. He's 32-of-40 on the season for 650 yards, four scores and zero interceptions. That's an average of 16.3 yards per attempt, which is outstanding.
Two things at stake
This is the last game for Baylor before it begins Big 12 play, and the universal goals for a team expected to win easily remain important here: avoid injuries and continue working out whatever kinks you might have. A loss here wouldn't figure to significantly harm Baylor's season, given that it has no bearing on the conference race, but it would be a painful early-season blow.
Louisiana-Monroe has its eyes on a Sun Belt title after finishing in a tie for second last season, and it could benefit from some signs of progress out of the offense against the Bears. For one thing, improvement on the offensive side is the only way the Warhawks can entertain an upset. For another, that unit needs to be better if they want to bring home the conference crown.
How to witness
TV: Fox Sports 1 will provide the television broadcast, beginning at 4 p.m. ET. Craig Bolerjack, Joey Harrington, and Ryan Nece will be in attendance.
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