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Preview: Idaho at Louisiana-Monroe

Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Garrett Smith is averaging 220 passing yards per game. (Hal Yeager / Associated Press)
Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Garrett Smith is averaging 220 passing yards per game. (Hal Yeager / Associated Press)

Vandals at Warhawks

Kickoff: 4 p.m. at Malone Stadium, Monroe, Louisiana

Records: Idaho (2-3, 0-1 Sun Belt), ULM (1-3, 0-1)

TV/Radio: ESPN3 (online); 92.5-FM, 1080-AM

Overview: Their level of effort has been uneven. Their offense hasn’t lived up to expectations. Their defense ranks in the bottom 10 in the nation in points allowed per game (39.2). But still, the Idaho Vandals have a manageable path to a bowl game. That path, though, gets trickier to maneuver if they lose at Louisiana-Monroe. After Idaho meets the Warhawks, losers of three straight, it hosts New Mexico State (2-3) and travels to Sun Belt power Appalachian State (4-1) to open a three-game road trip. Coach Paul Petrino wouldn’t label the next two games as must-haves in a quest to get to six wins, but they’re pretty close. “… I think every week you feel like you’ve got to win the game,” Petrino said, “but definitely this is a week we’ve got to prepare really well and go out and compete and find a way to win.” Louisiana-Monroe has also struggled against high-caliber teams and been competitive against similarly skilled programs. It’s coming off a 58-17 loss at Auburn after narrowly losing at Georgia Southern. ULM quarterback Garrett Smith is the team’s leading rusher and averages 220 passing yards per game. The Warhawks, five-point favorites, have yielded 40.3 points per game, eighth most in the FBS.

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