Southern Miss vs UL-Monroe Odds, Picks: Golden Eagles to Cover?

Southern Miss vs UL-Monroe Odds, Picks: Golden Eagles to Cover? article feature image

Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Southern Miss quarterback Trey Lowe.

Southern Miss vs UL-Monroe Odds

Saturday, Nov. 26
5 p.m. ET
Southern Miss Odds
-106o / -114u
UL-Monroe Odds
-106o / -114u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles travel to Monroe to take on the Warhawks. The Eagles will be playing for bowl eligibility, but ULM is eliminated from postseason possibilities.

Southern Miss head coach Will Hall has engineered a swift turnaround in Hattiesburg, even if there is still more work to do to clinch a sixth win. The defense is stout, even if the offense has struggled under the strain of nonstop quarterback musical chairs.

ULM has the opposite problem — there is some competency on offense, mostly thanks to the dual-threat heroics of quarterback Chandler Rogers, but the defense is one of the worst in FBS.

Can Southern Miss’ offense capitalize enough to clinch a sixth win and cover the spread? Or should you back the home underdog Warhawks? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

The second year of the Will Hall tenure has been electric. The rebuild has gone well, even with the team moving from Conference USA into the more challenging Sun Belt Conference. The defense is the calling card, which makes up for an offense that is still a work in progress.

The resume on offense is poor overall — 97th in SP — but there have been flashes of success against weak defenses, and a pair of stars have created some big plays.

It’s not an efficient offense by any means — 95th in Passing Success Rate and 120th in Rushing Success Rate — but it's opportunistic through the air and ranks 19th in passing explosive rate.

Four different players have been the primary quarterback and that inconsistency, as well as injuries, also plagued last year’s campaign. Trey Lowe currently holds the role, and although he has been productive through the air in terms of yardage, he's also sack-prone.

However, a ULM pass rush that grades 112th in the country might not be able to exploit that weakness.

The big plays come through the air, especially when targeting NFL prospect Jason Brownlee at wide receiver. Now, the pass might be coming from Lowe or from running back Frank Gore Jr. out of the “Superback” wildcat set, but Brownlee is one of the best aerial weapons in the Sun Belt.

The defense is strong (35th in EPA/margin), but has had a rough November playing three of the top Sun Belt offenses in a row. They will be happy to see a ULM offense that can be described as “approaching competence.”

The defense is fast and plays aggressively. A host of veteran returnees in the secondary were bolstered with SEC roster-crunch transfers, and the results have been excellent. They swarm to the ball, limiting efficiency (19th in Success Rate Allowed) and generate Havoc (22nd in that metric).

This boom-or-bust style does have some drawbacks, as it falls to 92nd in FBS in preventing explosive plays. This could be an issue against a ULM team that is 38th in creating passing explosive plays.

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Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

Terry Bowden is also in his second year of a deep rebuild. He won four games last year and has already cleared that mark this season, an impressive feat for a program that was consistently in the FBS cellar.

The defense is still brutal, but there's some competency on offense.

Quarterback Chandler Rogers has completed 67.8% of his passes for 2,288 yards with 14 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. But dig a little deeper, and he's only made seven big-time throws to eight turnover-worthy plays. He is incredibly sack-prone, which will be a bad matchup against this defensive line.

The run game isn’t much stronger, despite Rogers adding an extra dimension to the run game. In fact, if it weren't for the yardage lost on his 31 sacks taken, he would lead the team with 508 yards gained on the ground.

But even with his efforts, this is a mediocre running back room, and this offense ranks 95th in Success Rate. It will be hard to imagine a world where they sustain many drives against USM’s tough defense.

The team does fight hard, and the culture is good — they play to the whistle. Last week against Troy, the Warhawks played hard in the second half and created most of their yardage and both of their touchdowns after falling behind 27-3.

The defense is porous, ranking 125th in SP+. Teams can move the ball with efficiency (103rd in Success Rate) or big plays (87th in explosives). This unit also doesn’t generate much Havoc, and it doesn't stand opponents up in the red zone.

Southern Miss vs UL-Monroe Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Southern Miss and UL-Monroe match up statistically:

Southern Miss Offense vs. UL-Monroe Defense
Rush Success12085
Line Yards12383
Pass Success95104
Pass Blocking**129112
Finishing Drives90100
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UL-Monroe Offense vs. Southern Miss Defense
Rush Success8818
Line Yards9530
Pass Success9435
Pass Blocking**12278
Finishing Drives5162
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling94128
PFF Coverage60123
SP+ Special Teams2164
Seconds per Play27.0 (81)28.0 (99)
Rush Rate55.8% (50)55.8% (51)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Southern Miss vs UL-Monroe Betting Pick

Motivation won’t be a factor in this one.

Despite Southern Miss having postseason stakes while UL-Monroe does not, the Warhawks have been battling hard all year and have won a pair of close games in November despite a four-game losing streak in October. This team didn’t fold up.

But the matchup is favorable for Southern Miss.

The Golden Eagles have struggled to find consistency on offense all season, but have been able to generate enough big plays by relying on their stars to generate points against bad defenses. Yes, quality opponents have been able to put them in negative game scripts and force the offense into situations where it can’t thrive, but ULM is not that caliber of team.

The Warhawks offense might be able to connect on some big plays, especially facing a second-half deficit, but they will be exposed to Southern Miss creating turnovers and sacks.

I like the Golden Eagles to win this game on the road and clinch bowl eligibility.

Pick: Southern Miss -3.5 (Play to -5.5)

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