Friday Night Lights: Baylor at ULM
Published on Sept. 21, 2012, at 12:26 a.m. Eastern
By Brian Edwards
ULM will remain in the national spotlight in Week 4 when it takes on Baylor in Friday’s home opener at Malone Stadium in Monroe, LA.
Todd Berry’s team burst on the national landscape with its stunning come-from-behind win at Arkansas as a 30-point underdog. Junior quarterback Kolton Browning guided the War Hawks to a 34-31 overtime victory by completing 42-of-67 passes for 412 yards and three touchdowns. The southpaw also rushed 16 times for 69 yards, including the 16-yard scramble for the game-winning score in the extra session. ULM
ULM’s defense knocked Arkansas All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson out of the game and held the Razorbacks scoreless in the final 24 minutes, allowing Browning to work his magic while the team rallied from a 28-7 deficit.
After stunning the Hogs, ULM (1-1 straight up, 2-0 against the spread) faced another SEC West foe in the Auburn Tigers. The War Hawks led 7-0 and 14-7 in the first half but found themselves down 28-14 midway through the fourth quarter.
But that’s when Browning put on his rally cap – again. He hit Harley Scioneaux with a four-yard scoring strike with 6:15 left and then brought his squad even by connecting with Colby Harper on a six-yard TD pass at the 1:18 mark.
In OT, Auburn won on a 35-yard field goal by Cody Parkey. Nevertheless, ULM backers collected a winner as a 14 ½-point underdog. The 59 combined points went ‘over’ the 53 ½-point total.
As of Thursday night, most sports books were listing Baylor (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) as a 7 ½-point favorite with the total in the 69-70 range. Gamblers can take the War Hawks to win outright for a plus-200 payout (risk $100 to win $200).
You’re going to see two teams that are going to go out there and lay it on the line every snap,” Berry told the Associated Press. “It’s going to be fast-break football like you’ve never seen before in terms of the speed of the game.”
Art Briles’s team has won eight in a row dating back to last year. The Bears destroyed SMU 59-24 as 7 ½-point home favorites in their opener. Nick Florence was dynamite against the Mustangs, connecting on 21-of-30 passes for 341 yards and four TDs without an interception.
Following an open date, Baylor went through the motions in the first half against Sam Houston and trailed 20-10 at intermission. But in the second half, the Bears outscored the Bearcats 38-3 en route to a 48-23 non-covering win as 30-point home ‘chalk.’
Florence completed 24-of-41 throws for 312 yards and three TDs, but he was intercepted twice. Florence also rushed for 80 yards on nine carries. Lache Seastrunk scored on a 15-yard TD run and Darius Jones had a 73-yard pick-six.
During Briles’s five-year tenure, Baylor has a 2-2 spread record in four games as a road favorite. Meanwhile, LMU is 1-1 ATS as a home underdog on Berry’s watch.
Kick-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–Baylor has lost outright in nine of its last 11 road openers.
–ULM could be without a pair of key contributors on offense. Junior WR Tavarese Maye is ‘questionable’ with a lower body injury, while RB Centarius Donald is ‘doubtful’ with a knee injury. Donald, who had three rushing TDs and averaged 7.0 yards per carry last season, missed the Auburn game.
–Florida owns the nation’s longest head-to-head winning streak with 25 consecutive wins over Kentucky. The Gators are favored by 24 in Saturday’s game against the Wildcats at The Swamp.
–Kentucky QB Max Smith had six TD passes compared to zero interceptions in the first two games, but he was intercepted four times in last week’s 32-31 overtime loss to Western Ky.
-When Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson was cleared to play Thursday, the Hogs went from seven-point favorites to 8 ½ for Saturday’s home game vs. Rutgers.
–Since 2002, Ole Miss is an abysmal 3-12 ATS as a road favorite. The Rebels are favored by 18 ½ at Tulane.
–Before losing last week at Stanford, Southern Cal senior QB Matt Barkley was the even-money favorite to win the Heisman Trophy at Sportsbook.ag. The offshore book now has West Va. QB Geno Smith as the plus-175 favorite (risk $100 to win $175). Barkley’s odds have been adjusted to plus-350, while Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas has the third-shortest odds at 5/1. Three SEC players remain on the board, as Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron share 12/1 odds and Marcus Lattimore has a 15/1 number.