Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics
Auburn will take the field early on Saturday against the ULM Warhawks.

SEC Country team prediction: Auburn zeroes in on ULM with Iron Bowl looming

AUBURN, Ala. — Fans who were eager to dive into Iron Bowl week after Auburn’s win over top-ranked Georgia were extremely disappointed in the days that followed the upset.

Auburn’s coaches and players had no intention of discussing Alabama’s nearing visit to Jordan-Hare.

Instead, the Tigers focused on continuing the fun, momentum and winning ways. Louisiana-Monroe is a Sun Belt team Auburn should have no problem defeating, but a loss to the Warhawks would derail the entire season.

It will be key that Auburn stays healthy and posts some impressive stats against ULM on Saturday. There’s no room for missteps as the No. 1 Crimson Tide head to The Plains.

As always, our SEC Country staff has spent the week speaking with Malzahn, coordinators and players on the Auburn campus.

Now it’s time to make game predictions:

Justin Ferguson: Auburn 56, ULM 13

Louisiana-Monroe has a dangerous kick returner and an offense that I think will move the ball some against Auburn, especially when the younger players take over for most of the second half. ULM’s defense, however, is the third-worst in the country in yards per play, and it hasn’t played a Power 5 team. Auburn’s red-hot offense should be able to name its score against the Warhawks. Gus Malzahn will leave the starters in long enough to keep them sharp and hang plenty of points on the visitors before the Iron Bowl.

Lauren Shute: Auburn 55, ULM 0

Auburn continues to show what it’s capable of, and it’s an exciting thing to watch. The Tigers are in the position they were hoping to be in when they departed Baton Rouge. After controlling the game against Georgia in every aspect, it’s key that Gus Malzahn’s team puts together a strong performance against ULM. Offensively, Jarrett Stidham and Kerryon Johnson should have complete freedom and record lots of numbers in not a lot of time. Defensively, it’s not likely (simply because younger players will get time late) but it would make a statement if Kevin Steele’s defense could hold one of the nation’s top-20 offenses scoreless.

Benjamin Wolk: Auburn 51, ULM 9

Auburn isn’t going to let the foot off the gas after pulling off the best win of the college football season. No, the Tigers are going to use that victory over Georgia as a springboard to prove that all of their season-long dreams are intact. Auburn will make easy work of Louisiana-Monroe, and I expect Kerryon Johnson to accomplish enough with limited reps to thrust himself into the Heisman conversation.

Zac Blackerby: Auburn 45, ULM 3

Auburn’s focus this week has been on not stepping off the gas. The starting units will dominate the inferior ranks of their competition on Saturday. After a half, I predict backup quarterback Malik Willis will steal the show. The Tigers give up a field goal late but are too focused on Alabama to even care. This game is about keeping guys fresh and healthy. I believe Auburn will achieve that.