Alabama football vs. ULM: Score prediction and our scouting report

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Don’t try telling Nick Saban that Louisiana Monroe football isn’t a quality opponent. In fact, don’t mention the quality of an opponent at all.

On Wednesday, the Alabama coach took that phrase and launched into a mini rant about making sure to respect opponents. Of course, disrespecting an opponent is what opened the door for the Crimson Tide to lose to ULM in Saban’s first season in 2007.

“Every player should not be focused on who they’re playing against, relative to their motivation, but every player should want to be the best player they can be,” Saban said. “So why would it matter whether we’re playing Texas or playing somebody else? That’s how you get good. That’s how you develop the right habits. That’s how you’re consistent.”

The reality is ULM is not as good as Texas, though. The Longhorns beat the Warhawks 52-10 in the first week of the season. So, consider ULM (1-1) a habit-building game for the Crimson Tide (2-0). After a near victory, Alabama has plenty to tune up for the future when it faces the Warhawks on Saturday (3 p.m., SEC Network) at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Here's our scouting report and score prediction for the game:

LOOKING BACK:The view from the other side of the worst loss in Nick Saban's time with Alabama football

ALABAMA FOOTBALL:The Crimson Tide needs to replicate the efforts from this dominant play

ULM coach a familiar face

This certainly isn’t the first time Terry Bowden has coached against Alabama.

As Auburn’s coach from 1993-98, he saw the Crimson Tide plenty.

Saturday’s game will mark his first opportunity to coach against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, though.

Saban and Bowden also go way back. Bowden was playing at West Virginia when Saban was coaching defensive backs in the late 1970s. Saban coached under Bowden’s dad, the late Bobby Bowden.

“Coach Bowden was always really great to my family, was a really good friend of my dad’s,” Saban said. “So I have a tremendous respect for their family and I don’t think anybody has represented our profession and coached with more class than Coach Bowden did. And I have the same kind of respect for both of his sons who have been in and out of our profession and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Terry and what he’s trying to do at ULM.”

Experienced ULM offense

This offense returned most of the group from 2021.

Nine starters are back from last year’s team. ULM is also much different from Alabama in that it returned most of its receiving talent. While Alabama had to retool at receiver, the Warhawks brought back 10 of the top 11 players in receptions.

Boogie Knight was ULM’s top receiver in 2021. Last season, he caught 45 passes for 588 yards and three touchdowns. So far this season, he has five receptions for 41 yards.

Quarterback Chandler Rogers is back for his second year with ULM, beating out Jiya Wright. As a redshirt freshman, Rogers made six consecutive starts in 2021. So far this season, Rogers has completed 34 of 44 pass attempts (77.3% completion rate) to go with two touchdowns and one interception.

Against Texas, he barely crossed 100 yards passing as he completed 14 of 19 passes with zero touchdowns and the interception.  

How ULM defense stacks up nationally

There should be plenty of opportunities for the Alabama offense to get back on track.

The Warhawks have surrendered an average of 29.5 points through the first two games, which ranks tied for No. 92 in the country.

They also ranked tied for 70th in third-down percentage allowed (.367). Meanwhile, ULM is surrendering 344.5 yards per game, which ranks tied 63rd with Penn State.

Score prediction

Alabama 63, ULM 10: The Warhawks got their one win over Saban in 2007, but they’re not going to be adding to that total this season. This game will serve as a prime opportunity for the Crimson Tide to further smooth out some issues that arose against Texas.