Start time: 8:00 PM EST, Friday, October 23rd
Location: Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK
Radio: Memphis - AM 600; Tulsa, OK - FM 99.5
Series Record: 15-10, Memphis leads
Betting Line: Tigers -10.5 (76.5 O/U)
How Memphis Will Win
The Memphis offensive line will be huge in a Memphis win at Tulsa. Plenty of attention is given to Paxton Lynch, and deservedly so, but Lynch benefits from a strong line. The Tigers have 9 different players who average over 10 yards per catch. Anthony Miller, Tevin Jones and running back Doroland Dorceus average 15+ yards per catch. This type of success is due to the line giving Lynch time to look off multiple routes, but also because his receivers have time to run clean routes and get open.
On top of keeping Lynch safe the Tigers' offensive line has done an exceptional job blocking for the run. Memphis splits carries mainly between Jarvis Cooper, Sam Craft and Doroland Dorceus, but the team as a whole averages nearly 190 yards per game. Playing against a Tulsa defense that ranks near last in the nation at stopping the run means the Tigers' offensive line should provide a boost to both the Memphis pass and run attack.
How Tulsa Will Win
If Tulsa pulls off this upset it will likely be thanks to Memphis coasting off the emotional high of their major upset against Ole Miss last week. That's not a slight against Tulsa at all — Memphis is just that good if we're being honest. While Tulsa may need some help from the opposition to sustain hope for a win, they are well equipped to take advantage of any weakness the Tigers expose.
Between the powerful arm of Dan Evans and the tough running of Zack Langer, Tulsa has shown the ability to light up the scoreboard. They totaled 47 points against Florida Atlantic, 40 points against New Mexico and 38 against Oklahoma State. While Evans lost his best target in Keevan Lucas to knee surgery, Joshua Atkinson, Keyarris Linscott and Trent Martin have the size and play making ability to contain the Tigers' budding star Lynch.
How Memphis Will Lose
The Tulsa run game opening up the pass could be a reason for a Memphis loss. The easy advantage Memphis has over Tulsa is in the run game, and specifically on run defense. The Tigers run defense is ranked 24th in the nation. If they can limit Zack Langer by only rushing 3 or 4 then the game changes. Memphis will be able to devote more defenders to their already struggling pass defense. However, if Langer gets going early then an already suspect Memphis pass defense could be stretched thin. If Memphis is forced to load the box trying attempting to stop Langer, we could see Evans and company have a field day throwing the ball.
How Tulsa Will Lose
Memphis is as efficient as it comes on passing downs, so Tulsa will have its hands full keeping the Tigers' offense off the field. Even if Dane Evans' offense can rack up points, Tulsa will still lose this game if they can't put Lynch into third and long situations where his hilariously long running stride is less likely to generate a first down. Tulsa's secondary has only pulled down two interceptions this season so the defense likely won't be able to rely on turnovers to get off of the field. Lynch's 13:1 TD to INT ratio only increases my lack of faith in the Tulsa secondary.
Jared's Prediction: Memphis 38 Tulsa 24
Chris' Prediction: Memphis 41 Tulsa 27