PREVIEW: No. 18 Texas Longhorns vs. Louisiana Monroe Warhawks

·3 min read

The Texas Longhorns will take the field against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks Saturday night. The game will present an opportunity to erase last year’s struggles from players’ minds.

Terry Bowden begins a second season for Louisiana-Monroe after similar adversity in his first year. The Warhawks finished the season with a 4-8 record in 2021. Albeit, their struggles were not for lack of efficient quarterback play.

Rising sophomore Chandler Rodgers will lead the offense for a first full season this year. Rodgers finished third in the Sun Belt in completion percentage, connecting on 62.6 percent of his passing attempts.

Rodgers figures to have a strong option for a primary target in senior receiver Boogie Knight. Knight had 45 catches for 588 receiving yards. If the Longhorns were to game plan to take away a player, the veteran receiver may be the most dangerous threat.

Let’s look at how the game could play out for both teams.

ULM key player: Boogie Knight

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Boogie Knight amassed 824 all-purpose yards last year. Terry Bowden probably has a good idea where the football should go for the Warhawks on Saturday.

Texas key player: Quinn Ewers

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Ewers should be the deciding factor in the game. Given the surrounding talent he will have, I’m not sure Quinn can mess this game up if he tried. I expect the first year starter to play well.

Matchup to watch: ULM run offense vs. Texas run defense

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman

I don’t expect much from the Warhawks in this game, but they return a number of offensive contributors from last season. Nine starters return for the ULM offense, including running back Malik Jackson. Jackson finished the 2021 season on fire. He capped the campaign with a 112-yard performance against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and a 166-yard game against Arkansas State on the ground. Texas will have an opportunity to show just how much its run defense has improved.

Texas wins if...

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman

Texas wins if they protect the football. It would take a multitude of errors to lose this game. The Longhorns should be able to move the football even if their offensive line struggles in pass protection. The talent disparity between Texas and ULM skill players is too vast for players like Bijan Robinson, Xavier Worthy and Jordan Whittington not to get open and make plays in space.

ULM wins if...

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ULM will win if they create turnovers and seize an early double digit lead. Even should that happen, it would be difficult for the Warhawks to hold on barring a wholly unfocused effort from Texas.

Prediction: Texas 62, ULM 10

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The Longhorns should make short work of the Warhawks. It’s not reasonable to expect ULM to stop Bijan Robinson for consecutive drives, much less an entire game. Texas should be able to counter the focus on stopping Robinson in the vertical passing game. Texas puts up fireworks for the home crowd.

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire