ULM (1-1) at Wake Forest (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 14, 12:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: BB&T Field (31,500) -- Winston Salem, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3. Home Record: ULM 1-0, WFU 1-0. Away Record: ULM 0-1, WFU 0-1. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, WFU 0-0. Conference Record: ULM 0-0, WFU 0-1. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The ULM Warhawks hope to take down another BCS Conference
opponent as they visit BB&T Field for non-conference action with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Coach Todd Berry led the Warhawks to an unexpected overtime win over Arkansas in their 2012 opener. They lost their next two games to Auburn and Baylor by a combined total of eight points and went on to finish with an 8-5 overall record, including a 6-2 mark versus Sun Belt Conference foes. Berry was awarded with a four-year contract extension for his work.
ULM was not able to initially duplicate its success from last season as it fell, 34-0, at Oklahoma in week one. It improved to 1-1 last week with a 48-10 rout of Grambling.
Wake Forest is coming off of a 24-10 loss at Boston College that dropped it to 1-1 on the season and 0-1 in ACC competition. The setback followed a 31-7 season-opening rout of Presbyterian at home.
Now in his 13th season with the program, Jim Grobe owns a 74-75 record as the Demon Deacons' head coach. Wake Forest went 5-7 in 2012 and has not had a winning season since 2008.
This will be the first meeting in history between these schools on the football field. Wake Forest is 21-9 against non-conference opponents at BB&T Field under Grobe.
A great deal of the Warhawks' success last season was credited to quarterback Kolton Browning, who led the SBC with 29 touchdown passes. He was held under 200 passing yards just twice during his junior campaign. Browning's senior season has not been overly impressive so far. He went 20-of-39 for 128 yards with an interception against the Sooners and continued to struggle with his accuracy last week, completing 13-of-25 pass attempts. While Browning was held under 200 yards for the second consecutive game, he did toss three touchdowns to one interception in the victory.
Rashon Ceaser has been the most prominent weapon for ULM in the passing game with 11 receptions and 134 yards through two games. Senior wideout Je'Ron Hamm reeled in 62 catches for 915 yards and six scores in 2012 while playing alongside the graduated Brent Leonard (104 receptions, 1,118 yards, 10 TDs). Hamm is second on the team in receiving to Ceaser, having racked up just 60 yards with one touchdown on seven catches.
ULM's rushing attack came to life in its win over Grambling. The Warhawks piled up 367 yards on the ground, the program's highest output since 2007. Jyruss Edwards made the most of his eight carries, turning them in for 123 yards and a touchdown for his third career 100-yard rushing effort. DeVontae McNeal was also outstanding in limited action, going for 94 yards and a touchdown on nine rushes.
As expected, ULM was much better defensively in its second outing than its opener against the Sooners. After being outgained, 429-166, in total yards of offense by Oklahoma, the Warhawks held a 571-237 edge at the end of their bout with the Tigers.
Senior linebacker Cameron Blakes has displayed his nose for the ball this season with 23 total stops, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in two games. Blakes suffered a season-ending injury in the third game of the 2012 campaign and received a medical redshirt to make this year a possibility.
Blakes will spearhead the charge for ULM as it tries to keep the Demon Deacons from bouncing back from their poor showing against Boston College. Wake Forest piled up 408 yards on offense versus PC in its opener before being held to 246 by the Eagles.
In the loss, senior quarterback Tanner Price went 18-of-30 under center for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was very inconsistent during his junior campaign despite the presence of star wideout Michael Campanaro, who finished sixth in the ACC in receiving yards at 763.
Campanaro made five catches for 86 yards and the team's only touchdown in Chestnut Hill. The 5-foot-11 senior is just 49 receptions away from tying Desmond Clark's school record of 216 career catches. Campanaro has made at least one grab in 22 straight games.
Price will need to improve quickly if Wake Forest's running game continues to be bottled up. The Demon Deacons are averaging only 2.6 yards per carry. Senior tailback Josh Harris has gained just 47 yards on his team-high total of 21 carries.
Defensively, Wake Forest played well against BC. All three of the Eagles' touchdown drives started in Demon Deacons' territory due to turnovers. They had no answer for BC's Andre Williams, who racked up a career-high 204 yards on 35 rushes.
Wake Forest has recorded seven takeaways through two games. Junior cornerback Kevin Johnson is leading the team with two interceptions, while senior tackle Nikita Whitlock is the top pass rusher with three sacks. Whitlock has recorded 34 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in his career.
Although the homefield advantage will help, Wake Forest could be in trouble against ULM. The Warhawks were not efficient enough offensively to score against Oklahoma but put points on the scoreboard at will against Grambling. The Demon Deacons are the better team, however they need to be much more careful with the ball after handing the game away last week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: ULM 24, Wake Forest 21
09/11 10:33:20 ET