Five of the Warhawks’ eight losses last year were decided by a touchdown or less. Even so, the team was a far cry from 2012’s eight-win squad -- and with precious few playmakers on offense for 2015, it still is.
How the Warhawks beat you: If there’s cause for optimism on offense, his name is Rashon Ceaser. The senior WR, who started as a sophomore and junior, topped all UL Monroe pass catchers last year (872 yards) and picked up steam in his final five contests (107.0 ypg).
How you beat the Warhawks: Just two teams in the country racked up fewer yards on the ground than UL Monroe’s 834 last year. And ULM had an FBS-worst 18 runs of 10-plus yards. Unfortunately, the forecast isn’t any better: Last year’s leading rusher, Centarius Donald, departs. Last year’s second-leading rusher, senior Tyler Cain, will switch back to his natural WR position in ’15. Which makes sophomore RB Kaylon Watson (31 career yards) the Warhawks’ top veteran running back.
How the Warhawks beat you: It’s not just that the Warhawks are disruptive, they’re timely about it: 14 of their 36 sacks came on third down last year. And it’s not just that UL Monroe boasts a hyperaggressive 3-3-5. It’s that its front six is seriously experienced: 50 combined starts in ’14 from senior DL duo Lorenzo Jackson and Gerrand Johnson and senior LB trio Hunter Kissinger, Michael Johnson and Cody Robinson.
How you beat the Warhawks: By nearly every measurable, UL Monroe claimed an elite Sun Belt defense last year. Nearly. The normally stout D wilted deep in its own territory, allowing opponents to record TDs on 80 percent of goal-to-go drives, No. 94 in the FBS (and No. 7 in the conference).