The Memphis Tigers begin conference play on the road today against the Temple Owls.
Getting the win here is crucial for two reasons. First, they need to rebound from last week's disappointing loss and open conference play on the right foot. Second, they will also be looking to avenge their controversial loss to the Owls in 2019 that has some Tiger fans screaming "Joey still caught it."
This loss can either wake the Tigers up and help them get their season back on track or be the beginning of a slide. Since their last loss was not a conference loss, they can still accomplish their conference goals.
Memphis Head Coach Ryan Silverfield knows that playing Temple in Philadelphia will be a difficult task.
"We had a good team meeting and our guys know to move on. We're going to have our hands full. This is a team we've struggled against playing at their place in the past. We know they're capable,” Silverfield said.
The Tigers have to try to start fast like they did last week. They were up 21-0 after the first quarter. The problem is being able to put together drives when you need to on offense to add to their lead or getting stops on defense when you absolutely need to. The Tiger coaching staff must be more aggressive, especially in key situations. It was 3rd down and 5 in their opposition's territory and they elected to run the ball against a stout run defense, and it did not work. The next play, the kicker misses a field goal and the momentum of the game completely shifts in their opponent's favor. These plays may not decide the game, but it definitely plays a role in the final outcome.
The Temple Owls are the 16th ranked total defense in the nation. They are the number 1 team in the country in pass defense and are only giving up 4.21 yards per play. Scoring against this stingy defense will not be easy.
However, this offense under the leadership of quarterback Seth Henigan has the ability to put some points on the board. The Tiger defense is just not very good, but they have put the team in a position to win the game the last two weeks. Giving up 24 points in the second half last week is not a recipe for success. The defense found a way to score another touchdown. Is this streak sustainable? Probably not, but give them credit for trying their best to create turnovers and score touchdowns.
The Owl’s offense is not as good as their defense. They are ranked 109th in total offense and are averaging 5.56 yards per play. This could be an opportunity for either the Tiger defense or the Owl offense to play their best game of the year.
Memphis will be headed to a wild atmosphere on Saturday in Philadelphia. If they play like they did in the first half of the UTSA game, they will be fine. The game will be televised on ESPNU and will kick off at 11:00 a.m.