Louisiana-Monroe squares off with Ohio in the 2012 Indpendence Bowl. The Independence Bowl is one of three bowl games that matches up a MAC team against a team from the Sun Belt Conference. The two conferences will also go head-to-head in the LIttle Caesars Bowl (preview and prediction) and the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Ohio started the season 7-0, but struggled down the stretch and finished with an 8-4 record. Louisiana-Monroe went 6-2 in Sun Belt conference play and enter the Independence Bowl with an overall record of 8-4.
When Ohio is on Offense
Ohio ranks 53rd in the nation scoring 30.6 points per game. The Bobcats use a balanced attack that averaged 202.0 yards rushing and 233.5 yards passing per game. Junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton played well this season for the Bobcats. Tettleton completed 62% of his passes for 2513 yards, 16 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions. Running back Beau Blankenship averaged 5.1 yards per carry on his way to 1500 yards rushing this season. Ryan Boykin also ran well for Ohio picking up 445 yards on 74 carries.
Louisiana-Monroe ranks 61st in the nation in scoring defense allowing 27.8 points per game. The Warhawks gave up 30 points or more in 5 games this season. As a team, Louisiana-Monroe had 23 sacks and 15 interceptions.
When Louisiana-Monroe is on Offense
The Warhawks rank 25th in the nation in scoring at 35.5 points per game. Quarterback Kolton Browning is the key to the Warhawks’ offense. Browning completed 68% of his passes for 2830 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. He also led the Warhawks in rushing with 441 yards and 7 touchdowns. Wide receiver Brent Leonard is 7th in the nation with 97 catches and has 1042 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Ohio ranks 52nd in the nation in scoring defense giving up 25.7 points per game. Teams that struggled offensively this season had their best games against Ohio. Buffalo averaged 21 points per game this season, but were able to put up 31 on the Ohio defense. Massachusetts ranked 124th in scoring this season at 12.7 points per game, but they put up a season high 34 in a loss to Ohio. The Bobcats will need to tighten up against Louisiana-Monroe.
2012 Independence Bowl Pick Against the Spread
Louisiana-Monroe is currently a 7-point favorite over Ohio in the 2012 Independence Bowl. The Warhawks played well down the stretch this season while Ohio stumbled into the bowl game winning just one of their last five games. Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Kolton Browning is healthy after a foot injury that cost him two games, both losses, and he will be the difference maker in this game. I expect the Warhawks to win the game, but Ohio will use their rushing attack to control the clock and keep it close. I’ll take Ohio with the 7 points.
Prediction: Louisiana-Monroe 31 – Ohio 27
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