Memphis Tigers (4-3, 2-2 American) vs Tulane Green Wave (6-1, 3-0 American)
Time and Date: 3:30 PM ET, October 22nd
Broadcast Network: ESPN2
Location: Yulman Stadium - New Orleans
ESPN FPI: Tulane, 68.2%
Line: Tulane -7*
Point Total: 56.5*
All-Time Series: Memphis leads the series against Tulane, 24-13-1
Last Meeting: Memphis 33 Tulane 28 - November 28, 2021
Current Streak: Memphis, 1
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Tulane are 3-0 in conference after beating Southern Florida 45-31. The Green Wave are now 6-1 and ranked in the AP Poll. However, there is no time to celebrate for Willie Fritz and co. If his team aspires to go to the conference championship game or to the Cotton Bowl, they will need to play better than they did last week.
In a conference defined by high octane offenses, Tulane are anchored by their defense. This is why it is so surprising that they gave up 31 points to arguably the AAC’s worst offense who lost their starting QB to injury too boot. The Green Wave uncharacteristically gave up multiple chunk play TDs including a 74-yard passing TD and 33-yard rushing TD by USF’s Gerry Bohannon before he went out with an injury.
However, it was not all bad news for the defense. Tulane still recovered two fumbles including one within USF’s 10-yard line, which the offense promptly turned into six on their first play. Perhaps this is a wake-up call for the group to not play down to their competition or to rest on their laurels. After all, Tulane are still ranked within the top 15 in the FBS in scoring defense.
Fortunately for Willie Fritz, if his team needs more than 30 points to win as they did against USF, they are more than capable with Michael Pratt under center. The third year starter has made a huge jump this season. Completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns are all up while sacks and interceptions are down. Pratt is only getting better as the season goes on as well having his best performance against USF where he threw for two TDs and added two more on the ground. Simply put, Tulane have everything they need to to go 4-0 in conference prior to their bye week.
Michael Pratt untouched ‼️#AmericanFB x @GreenWaveFB pic.twitter.com/PhNPM3U2hZ— American Football (@American_FB) October 15, 2022
However, Memphis also have anything they need to upset Tulane. The question will be is whether or not the Tigers will be able to recover from two consecutive heartbreaking loses. Two weeks ago, it was giving up 26 fourth quarter points to lose to Houston 33-32. This past week, it was losing in 4OT to East Carolina 47-45.
Offense isn’t the problem for the Tigers who put up plenty of points. Memphis is ranked within the top 25 in scoring offense primarily due to the QB play of Seth Hennigan. Much like Pratt, Henigan is putting up career best numbers this season. While the QB struggled with two interceptions against ECU, he can hardly be blamed for the loss as he put up over 400 yards passing over 70% completion percentage and three TDs.
The real problem for Memphis is their defensive unit. This season, opponents are more likely to score 30 than not against the Tigers. Memphis mostly struggle with passing defense. Every competent quarterback to face Memphis this season has put up multiple touchdowns and 300 yards passing. That is bad news for Tigers’ secondary who have to face Pratt on the road.
.@MemphisFB ties it up!!#AmericanFB pic.twitter.com/blbsRncc5y— American Football (@American_FB) October 16, 2022
Both teams have talented offenses with good quarterbacks. However, only one team has a stellar defense and is playing with a home. Yulman Stadium should be rocking as students return from fall break to a ranked team and homecoming celebrations. Tulane are going to win a close game and pile onto Tigers’ misery, 24-21.