In he most humiliating loss of Nick Saban's career at Alabama, the Tide dropped a game to the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks in 2007. It marked a dark time in the fandom of the Crimson Tide, but may well have been the turning point that led into the dominance Alabama has displayed in front of the nation since 2008. Finally, Nick Saban gets a chance to redeem himself against a severely undermanned opponent.
ULM sported a middling passing game and one of the worst running games in the nation in 2014. Then their quarterback graduated. Freshman Garrett Smith has been given the reins since week one, and has performed admirably. The new starter has put up 576 yards through the air on a 79% completion rate. He's averaging an outstanding 9.29 yards per attempt and has thrown 5 touchdowns to only one interception. Smith has more than outplayed his expectations so far, and has been one of the most efficient passers in the nation through three games. He also is second on the team with 72 rushing yards.
At running back... Well, the Warhawks don't really run. But when they do, senior DeVontae McNeal, sophomore Kaylon Watson, and freshman Ben Luckett platoon evenly in the run game. Luckett leads the team with 84 yards and a touchdown with an impressive 7.0 yards per attempt. The other two are averaging 1.7 and 3.2 yards per attempt, respectively.
The top two players in ULM's offense last year were receivers Rashon Ceaser and Ajalen Holley. Ceasar has over 2,000 career yards, while Holley has over 1,000, and the pair was widely considered the top receiving duo in the conference in 2014. So far this year, Ceaser has twice as many receptions and Holley, and about 90 more yards. The two have combined for 70% of ULM's passing offense production, and have two touchdowns apiece.
While the Warhawks will continue on the trend of recent Alabama opponents of throwing the ball a lot, they likely will be severely overmatched by the Tide defense. Here's to Nick Saban finally getting to avenge his 2007 loss to the small school.