Independence Bowl Preview Capsule

The Associated Press Published:

Ohio (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (8-4), 2 p.m. EST (ESPN)

Line: Louisiana-Monroe by 7.

Series Record: First meeting

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Louisiana-Monroe wants to make a good impression after advancing to the postseason for the first time since moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1994. The Warhawks haven't won nine games in a season since 1993. Ohio is in a bowl game for the fourth straight season and trying to win nine games for the third time in four years.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio RB Beau Blankenship against ULM's defense. The 5-foot-9, 202-pound Blankenship has had a breakout season for the Bobcats, rushing for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's rushed for at least 100 yards eight times this season, including a season-high 269 yards against Massachusetts on Sept. 29.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ohio: QB Tyler Tettleton. The 6-foot-0, 200-pound junior has thrown for at least 2,500 yards in each of the past two seasons. He's thrown 16 touchdowns this season and only three interceptions, and also added four rushing touchdowns.

Louisiana-Monroe: WR Brent Leonard. One of the most productive receivers in school history, Leonard has caught 97 passes for 1,042 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. The former walk-on had 11 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown in the team's upset win over Arkansas in the season opener.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio won seven straight games to start the season, including a season-opening victory over Penn State, but the Bobcats have dropped four of their past five. ... Blankenship's 1,500 rushing yards are a school record and he's the eighth back in school history to top 1,000 yards in a season. ... Ohio is one of four teams from the Mid-American Conference that has been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at some point this season. ... This is coach Frank Solich's eighth season at Ohio. He has a 58-44 record. ... Louisiana-Monroe has played in four overtime games this season, winning three of them. ... The Warhawks have set a school record with 59 touchdowns this season, including 31 passing, 24 rushing and four by the defense. ... Leonard needs just two catches against Ohio to become the school's all-time leading receiver.