- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

Louisiana-Monroe (1-1) at No. 12 Alabama (2-1), 4 p.m. (SEC Network)

Line: Alabama by 38.

Series Record: Tied 1-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Alabama needs to regroup from a loss to No. 3 Mississippi before visiting seventh-ranked Georgia. Louisiana-Monroe won at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2007, Nick Saban’s first year with the Crimson Tide. This would represent a decidedly bigger upset.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama’s secondary versus Louisiana-Monroe’s passing game. The Crimson Tide defense was victimized for big plays in the second half of the loss to the Rebels. Louisiana-Monroe so far has been a passing oriented team behind redshirt freshman QB Garrett Smith and wide receivers led by Rashon Ceaser. Ceaser has 23 catches in two games.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Louisiana-Monroe: Smith. He has been an accurate passer and a running threat in his first two games. Smith is completing 79 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and just one interception. He has also gained 72 yards after sacks.

Alabama: QB Jake Coker. Coker appears to have earned back the starting spot after Cooper Bateman played the first part of the Mississippi game. This might be his chance to build confidence and perhaps lock up the job more securely. If the game gets lopsided, Bateman will likely get into the game as well.

FACTS & FIGURES

Saban’s teams have outscored Sun Belt opponents 366-107 in nine games, and he’s 4-1 at Alabama. Louisiana-Monroe won the last meeting with the Tide, 21-14. The Warhawks were 24-1/2-point underdogs in that game. … ULM has beaten at least one team from a Power Five conference in each of the last three seasons, including then No. 8 Arkansas in the 2012 opener. The other two wins came against Wake Forest. …The Warhawks are the only FBS program to play eight road games this season. … This is Alabama’s first game since losing WR Robert Foster to a shoulder injury.

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