Date: Saturday, November 10th
Time: 11:00am CT
Location: Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN)
Line: Memphis -15.5
A combination of getting Darrell Henderson back and facing a porous ECU defense gave the Tigers new life offensively. Their defense didn’t get the memo. While Memphis may have been stout against the run (3.7 ypc), they were torched by a true freshman quarterback. This week, they’ll face the opposite. A team that is exceptional at running the football, but poor as a passing offense. It comes down to the front seven. Memphis should win this game but, like every week, the defense determines how comfortable the win will be. The offense can’t do everything for them.
Simply put, Memphis’ offense is more explosive with Henderson involved. That’s not a shot towards anyone on the offense, because it’s a fact. Henderson has game changing ability out of the backfield, and he makes the offense better when he’s on the field. Memphis will need him against a Tulsa defense that is in the Top 15 in pass defense. Last year, the Golden Hurricane ranked among the worst in the country in most defensive categories, but have improved immensely this year. Henderson should still have a big day, and that should open up passing lanes for Brady White.
If you watched both the 2017 and 2018 Golden Hurricane offense, you might not notice a difference. They have a veteran offensive line that moves bodies for the run game, and the quarterback position is the weakness. Literally the exact same. It’s unfortunate that the passing game can’t get any momentum, because Justin Hobbs and Keenan Johnson have great potential at receiver. Keeping up with Memphis will require them to be involved. What Tulsa does well is run the ball. Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II picked up right where they left off last year, and they run behind an offense line led by Chandler Miller and Tyler Bowling. They should be successful on the ground, and an upset is possible if they can find success through the air. It’s going to come down to their defense.
It’s like deja vu! After talking about Memphis needing its defense to step up, Tulsa needs the same thing. We should commend this group for its improvement from last year. This was a team that couldn’t stop anyone ever, and was one of the worst units in the country. Now, though they may still be average, they are keeping the games interesting. Cooper Edmiston is having a potential All-Conference year at linebacker, which has given McKinley Whitfield some help. Stopping Memphis may be near impossible, but any turnovers or punts they can force will go a long way.
Tulsa may be 2-7, but they’re not a bad team. Nearly every loss has been close, and they’ve led in the fourth quarter in a few of them. Memphis has tumbled to the middle of the conference after entering the year with high hopes. We know what each team’s offense is capable of, but which defense will help more?
Memphis 38 Tulsa 30