Location: Yulman Stadium - New Orleans, LA
Date: Saturday, December 5
Time: 11:00 AM CT
Records: Memphis 6-2 (4-2 AAC), Tulane 5-5 (2-5 AAC)
Betting Line: Tulane -1.5; O/U 63
All-Time Series: Memphis leads 23-12-1
Last Meeting: Memphis 47, Tulane 17 (October 19, 2019)
Tulane will be looking to close its season out with a win against Memphis in New Orleans on Saturday. Coming off one of the most crushing defeats in the program’s 127 year history against Tulsa, the Green Wave will try and turn the page and notch their sixth win of the season against a Memphis team that is currently riding a three game winning streak.
Tulsa third-string quarterback Davis Brin put together a night to be remembered against the Greenies on November 19th. Reminiscent of an at the time unknown third-string quarterback who came off the bench named Brett Favre and led Southern Miss to a win over the Green Wave in September 1987, Brin was able to scorch the Tulane secondary for 266 yards and two touchdowns. The highlight of Brin’s night was a 37 yard hail mary as time expired to JuanCarlos Santana to get the game to overtime.
Despite Tulane being unable to finish their last time out against Tulsa, they were able to shut-out the 25th ranked team in the nation for three quarters, run the ball effectively, and win the turnover battle.
Ryan Silverfield’s Memphis squad has become the bottom feeder of the AAC. The combined record of the five FBS teams that the Tigers have beat this year is 14-22. The Tigers also beat Stephen F. Austin, who play in the FCS. Memphis is led by their star senior quarterback Brady White. White, who decided to come back to Memphis instead of heading to the NFL after his junior year, has thrown for 2,602 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season.
Memphis showed the strength of their defense last time out against Navy, limiting the Midshipmen to only seven points. Defensive back Quindell Johnson, a New Orleans native who will be playing his first collegiate game in his hometown on Saturday, has been a stalwart for the Tigers defense in 2020. Johnson has recorded 60 tackles, one forced fumble, and one interception so far this year.
From Tulane’s Perspective
This will be the last game that Will Hall serves at Tulane’s offensive coordinator. After two years as the Green Wave’s OC, the precocious Hall has taken the Southern Miss head coaching job, but is opting to stay on for the Greenie’s game this Saturday to coach his offense for one last time.
Hall’s offense, which is known around Uptown New Orleans as “Hall Ball”, is averaging 404.3 yards per game and has scored 30 or more points in their last seven games. The Wave are led by star freshman quarterback Michael Pratt. While the Boca Raton, FL native has undoubtedly experienced some growing pains, Pratt has thrown for 1,384 yards, 16 touchdowns, and only five interceptions on the year.
Pratt’s favorite target this season has been Duece Watts. Watts, who is in his first year playing for the Green Wave after transferring into the program from Jones County Junior College, has 466 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns on the year.
The Green Wave also have the 19th best rushing attack in the nation, averaging 224.1 yards per game. Tulane’s running game is led by Stephon Huderson and Cameron Carroll. Huderson and Carroll have combined for 1,237 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns on the season. While Huderson is a senior, all the other players mentioned above will be returning for the Green Wave in 2021 and should give new offensive coordinator Chip Long, who served in the same position at Notre Dame from 2017-2019, a lot to work with going forward.
Tulane’s defense is led by Patrick Johnson and Cameron Sample. Johnson and Sample are both seniors who will more than likely be playing in the NFL next year. Johnson leads the nation with 10.0 sacks on the year. The Chattanooga, TN native only needs 1.5 sacks against the Tigers on Saturday to tie the AAC’s career sack record of 26.0 that was set by Temple’s Quincy Roche.
From Memphis’ Perspective
Memphis’ Ryan Silverfield has looked up to the task, taking over as head coach for the Tigers this year after serving as their offensive line coach since 2016 for Mike Norvell. Silverfield had the luxury of leaning on one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Brady White. White has thrown for 10,171 yards and 85 touchdowns over the past four years at Memphis and is likely to be a NFL draft pick in 2021.
Memphis has the 14th best offense in the nation averaging 508.5 yards per game and 6.32 yards per play. White’s favorite target is Calvin Austin III. Austin, a junior who is playing for his hometown school, has 841 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns on the season. Memphis’ running attack is led by Rodrigues Clark and Kylan Watkins. Clark, a sophomore, and Watkins, a junior, have combined for 889 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns on the season.
Mike MacIntyre’s defense should have their hands full with a highly motivated Tulane team on Saturday. Memphis’ defense ranks an abysmal 121st in college football this year, giving up an average of 519 yards per game. In addition to Quindell Johnson, the stand-outs for the Tigers on defense are defensive back Rodney Owens and defensive lineman Morris Joseph. Owens, a junior out of Nashville, TN was out during Memphis’ last game against Navy, but has 41 tackles and three interceptions on the season. Joseph, a junior from Orange, TX, leads Memphis was five sacks in 2020.
The Tigers also have one of the conference’s best kickers in senior Riley Patterson. A native of Edwardsville, IL and two time Lou Groza award watch list member, Patterson has only missed one kick this year under 50 yards.
Tulane has a lot to play for this Saturday. A third consecutive winning season, their beloved offensive coordinator Will Hall, and a group of seniors who over the past four and five years have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into revitalizing the Tulane football program. Since beating UCF in the middle of October, Memphis has faced an easy schedule, which they have at times had issues managing. I think the Green Wave will take the lessons that they have learned from their tough defeats earlier in the year and sneak by Memphis in what promises to be a high scoring affair.
Prediction: Tulane 34 - Memphis 31