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Houston Cougars at Memphis Tigers Game Preview

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Houston looking for its first winning season since 2018, but they also might not be done.

Memphis v Houston Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, December 12th
Start Time: 2:45pm
How to Watch: ESPN2
Line: Houston -5
Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (Memphis, TN)


Memphis Outlook

The Tigers quest to defend their title officially ended last week when they lost to Tulane, and we saw more names hit the transfer portal. Is this a sign they’re headed for a rebuild? Who knows, but the Tigers are looking to end their regular season on a high note. Calvin Austin III continues his dominance out wide, and will give Houston plenty to worry about in the passing game. Brady White knows he can find Austin and Sean Dykes downfield consistently, which helps when the run game isn’t contributing consistently.

Ryan Silverfield said that there will be a running back by committee approach this weekend, so it will be interesting to see how effective that unit will be. If the offense stalls, what will that mean for the Tigers? Houston hasn’t played in a while, but their offense is more than capable of putting up points in a hurry.

Houston Outlook

Houston hasn’t played a football game in 25 days, and you can bet guys are anxious to get back on the field. While this is the last official game on the schedule, athletic director Chris Prezman said they’re hoping to add two more games in December and hopefully getting an invitation to a bowl game. Those games will be important to the development of the players returning next year, and it will be nice to see the Cougars play again.

Last year, Clayton Tune and the offense got off to a fast start before cooling off quickly in the 45-27 loss. Things feel much different this year, and as long as the Coogs are healthy they should be in good hands to win. Stopping Austin and Dykes will be the biggest key for Houston’s defense, as the Tigers are good at moving the ball through the air. Austin has a great release off the line, so Marcus Jones and Damarion Williams will have their hands full. If Payton Turner is back, his ability to get after White plays a big role too. Memphis has a current four game wining streak over the Coogs, and the defense will be the biggest factor in ending that.

Prediction

Memphis feels like they’re headed in the wrong direction right now, and Houston’s just anxious to play. Will there be any rust to shake off for Houston? That much time off was necessary to get healthy, but it also means they’re the less seasoned team at this point. The Tigers are still a solid team at 6-3, but it feels like they can be beaten. Tune needs to keep his production up for Houston’s offense, and the defense needs to take away a couple key guys. Even though the Coogs haven’t played, it feels like momentum isn’t going in Memphis’ favor. HOUSTON 35 MEMPHIS 31