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Don’t Sleep on the Warhawks vs. Southern Miss

By Emory Hunt
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The UL-Monroe/Southern Miss game should be an outstanding contest that’ll remind us of the glory days for both teams.

I remember a time when the Southern Miss Golden Eagles defense were the Baltimore Ravens of college football.  They’ve become more of an offensive juggernaut now, but they have their pockets of great defensive play still.  UL-Monroe has always been a very tough opponent for whomever they face.  For the Warhawks, it never mattered who, what, when or where, they were bringing their active defense, physical offensive line and a catalogue of plays that were sure to catch you napping at the most crucial point of the game.

I said all of that to say this: The UL-Monroe/Southern Miss game should be an outstanding contest that’ll remind us of the glory days for both teams.

Hunt’s Keys to Victory

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Get Off the Bus Ready:  Nothing can get you beat quickly than sleepwalking through the early parts of a football game.  The opponent gains confidence while you’re trying to get the red wire to touch the blue wire to jump start your offense or defense.  The good news is that this is an area where Southern Miss has had success so far this season.
Red Zone Payoff:  It’ll be imperative for the Golden Eagles to pay off long, sustained drives with touchdowns instead of field goals. Field goals are great, and points do add up, but touchdowns are what put teams away.
Make the Plays that are there to Be Made: An old coaching saying goes, ‘a play doesn’t care who makes it, it just wants to be made.’  That holds true in this game verses a team that should be as sharp as anyone coming off 2 weeks of rest. When the Golden Eagles have an opportunity to generate a turnover or get a key tackle for loss or sack, they HAVE to make that play.

UL-Monroe Warhawks

Tackle Him the 1st Time:  The Warhawks run defense will be put to the test facing one of the most elusive backs in the country in Ito Smith.  Smith can make you look foolish in confined spaces and out in the open field.  ULM has to play great team defense and focus on his waist instead of his shoulders in order to bring down the elusive Smith.
Staying Ahead of the Chains:  I like the efficiency of the Warhawks passing game. Whether it’s Garrett Smith or Caleb Evans, they must not put the ball in harm's way and take calculated risks downfield.  Remember, yards add up and you only need 10 for a 1st down. If they can string together 3-4 first downs per drive, they’ll be playing winning football.
Keep Your Eyes on Your Luggage: This is going to be a crucial part of the game for ULM. As you’re dealing with an offense that can lull you to sleep with their ground game & RPOs, you have to stay alert at all times on the backend. As soon as you get caught peeking in the backfield, guessing, or trying to be a hero, it’s six points and the opposing fight song will start playing.  Everyone has to ‘do their job’ defensively and don’t try to be a hero.


Preparation is everything in football. You know what else is everything? Health. Rest. ULM has both coming into this ball game and will be chomping at the bit to play a football game.  Expect the Warhawks to come out of the gate with a flurry, the Golden Eagles will then stabilize and get back to basics, and we’ll see a classic finish at Malone Stadium on Saturday evening.

UL-Monroe 24
Southern Miss 21

Emory Hunt - Emory Hunt, "The Czar of the Playbook", is a former UL Ragin' Cajun running back nw covering the Sun Belt for Southern Pigskin. His other work can be found at Twitter: @FBallGameplan