Memphis at Tulane
Time: 7 PM (CT), Friday Sept 28 (ESPN2)
Spread: MEM -14
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Memphis Tigers have won two straight since its Week 2 loss to Navy. Wins over Georgia State and South Alabama have propelled the Tigers to a 3-1 record, but it has plenty of work to be done sitting at 5th in the American Athletic West (since it lost to conference foe, Navy).
This week Memphis travels to face the Tulane Green Wave as two-touchdown favorites according to college football oddsmakers at 5dimes. The game has an over/under of 67 points and will air at 7 PM (CT) Friday on ESPN2.
Last week in its win over South Alabama, Memphis scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to storm away with the 52-35 victory. Brady White was outstanding at quarterback, launching 22 of 29 for completion for 292 yards and two TDs while boasting a 10.1 per-attempt average. Darrell Henderson was just as impressive out of the backfield, leading Memphis with 188 yards and two TDs, while Patrick Taylor Jr. added another 75 yards and two TDs on his 17 attempts.
White was less successful coming out of the pocket, rushing twice but managing a loss of 14-yards collectively. His top receiver Damonte Coxie caught eight passes for 113 yards and a TD. John Pop Williams added another 65 yards on his five receptions with a TD. Though Memphis has been rolling offensively, to say the least, its defensive effort could bear some improvement.
Memphis is still solid on the defensive end in allowing 23.3 points per game (No. 56), which is more than enough with an offense that generates 49.5 points per game (No. 10), but giving up 35 points to South Alabama should be a red flag of sorts. Granted, the Tigers did hold Navy to 22 points, but it managed just 21 itself in its only loss of the season.
However, the Tigers do benefit from a soft schedule with only UCF represented as an AP-ranked opponent, and Memphis does not face the Knights until Oct. 13. Closing the season against SMU and Houston could prove challenging, but the Tigers should be in the mix for the AA West title, even if it is early to say that. Memphis has the look of a conference contender, but overcoming the No. 13 ranked UCF Knights will still likely prove too much.
Tulane fell to 1-3 last week with a predictably boring blowout loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes, falling 6-49 in a game that was not expected to be close in any fashion. Losses to Wake Forest and UAB were less of that variety, but losses nevertheless. Only Week 2 saw the Green Wave as victors thus far, when it knocked off Nicholls, not even an FBS team.
Nevertheless, let us take a brief look at what the Green Wave did right in its only win of the season. Jonathan Banks was accurate with his passing, throwing 12 of 16 (75 percent) for 19o yards and a TD. But Corey Dauphine was the biggest reason behind the victory. The running back rushed just six times in the game but amassed 152 yards and three TDs, including a 69-yard rush to bolster his 25.3 yards-per-carry. Darius Bradwell was brilliant too, with 93 yards on 13 carries.
Amare Jones and Banks each added rushing touchdowns, although Banks was -22 yards on his nine carries.
Tulane showed against weak opponents it will go to the rush game, and perhaps it can even experience some of that success this week against Memphis, but the Green Wave really do not stack up well against even its better conference rivals, and the 14-point spread should hold accurate as projected by college football oddsmakers.
Tulane has been in the gutter while Memphis has been a strong small conference opponent on the rise, and barring some unforeseen occurrences (perhaps injuries) this affair should be just lopsided enough for the Memphis Tigers to cover the 14-point spread.