I was in Murray, Kentucky with the UCA Bears (I do their play by play) when I received a text from my youngest daughter, Keely. The Hog game was early in the second quarter and the Hogs were up 14-7, but Keely wasn't impressed. Her message "don't think hogs are gna b that great". It was clear to all that watched, ULM was the better team last night.
Look at the numbers, and it's easy to blame the defense. The Warhawks had 550 yards of offense and 30 first downs. Those are numbers the Hogs are used to putting up. ULM's crafty, senior quarterback , Kolton Browning, was a bad matchup for a defense that has suffered in two major areas in the first two games, tackling and covering receivers. Browning spent the night slipping tackles and finding open receivers.
Was I surprised Monroe scored 28 points in regulation ? Yes. Shocked ? No. Defensive Coordinator, Paul Haynes, warned fans that ULM would put up good yardage numbers. He said the key to victory would be keeping the Warhawks out of the end zone. Give ULM credit, they played to win. From start to finish, The Warhawks were gunning for just touchdowns. They refused to settle for three points.
On the flip side, the high octane, Hog offense, was lucky to score 28 points in regulation. Three of the four td's came on well executed deep balls ( two from Tyler Wilson and one from Brandon Allen). Nothing came easy for the offense. I just watched the replay of the game, and I had trouble finding two things on offense, good blocks and open receivers. I think they may miss Joe Adams , Jarius Wright and Greg Childs, as much or more than Bobby Petrino. They lost three NFL draft picks at the wide receiver spots.
Petrino( Bobby or Paul ) coached offenses aren't supposed to struggle for 4 quarters against a Sun Belt opponent. You could see the frustration on the sideline. They sputtered for four quarters. If it wasn't for overtime, the 30 point favorite would have been held to just 28 points. This is an offense that Paul Petrino says is designed to score 50 points against any opponent. Was this just an off game ? Let's hope so. If this offense has lost it's mojo, this will be one long season.
One thing this offense isn't designed to do is protect the franchise, Tyler Wilson. We all watched last season as opposing defenses teed off on the All- SEC quarterback. Alabama treated the former Landers Award winner like a pinata. Tyler never complained or missed time, until last night. ULM delivered a knockout blow sometime late in the second quarter. The Hogs had to finish the game without their leader. Would it have been different if Tyler had stayed in the game ? Most likely, but I'm not positive. Brandon Allen got very little help from his offensive teammates in the final 2 quarters.
At no time last night, did they look like a 30 point favorite or a Top 25 team. That's disappointing and downright scary with Bama coming to Fayetteville this week.
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