The Memphis Tigers (2-0) will travel to Mobile, Alabama to face South Alabama (1-1) for their first road test of the year. The kickoff is set for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CDT on ESPNU. The Daily Helmsman Sports Staff gives their predictions for the upcoming game.
The Tigers are off to a strong start to the season, but their first real test comes this week against South Alabama. This will be the Tigers’ first road game of the season, so it will be vital to see if both the offense and defense play well like they have been at home.
Last season South Alabama gave the Tigers some fits in their matchup. Expect to see more of the same with both teams coming out scoring until Memphis settles down and makes halftime adjustments.
The Jaguars are a different team on offense this year. Last year was all about passing the ball, but this year they are coming into the game with more rushing yards than passing.
With that, look for Memphis’ defense to make that a point of emphasis in the game plan and shut it down. Also, Patrick Taylor Jr. has been ruled out of the matchup, so look for Kenneth Gainwell to run the ball with authority and make the most of his carries as he did last week.
Score prediction: Memphis 40-28 South Alabama
After picking up two confidence-building wins at home, the Memphis Tigers will now go on the road for a matchup at South Alabama. With Patrick Taylor Jr still out this week, Kenny Gainwell will once again shoulder the lead back responsibilities. Gainwell has shined when given opportunities and has become a huge factor for an offense that has checked all the boxes thus far.
The Jaguars raised some eyebrows earlier this season when they gave Nebraska a much tougher game than expected. While they still ended up falling to the Cornhuskers 35-21, it is clear that the Jags are no slouch.
Brady White will be looking to put together another masterful performance like the one he turned in a week ago. If he’s able to play with that same efficiency Saturday, the Tigers will have a good chance to leave Mobile 3-0.
Score prediction: Memphis 38-23 South Alabama
It will be a true road test for the Tigers this week as they head to Mobile, Alabama to face the South Alabama Jaguars. This is a team (1-1) who scared the previously ranked No. 24 Nebraska before they lost 35-21, and they are coming off a 37-14 win against Jackson State. South Alabama also gave Memphis a scare at the Liberty Bowl last year in their first-ever meeting as they were tied 21-21 in halftime until the Tigers ran away with it in the second half, winning 52-35.
The main takeaway for Memphis will be how their defense will maintain the Jaguars run game, especially with senior running back Tra Minter coming off a 189-yard performance on the ground. The team rushed for a combined 413 yards as a whole, and while it was against a struggling Jackson State team, momentum is on the South Alabama side.
Defensively, Memphis only has allowed 124 rushing yards per game in the first two weeks. The Tigers will only win this game if they emphasize slowing down Minter and Jared Wilson who rushed for 97 yards last week as well.
Score prediction: Memphis 35- 21 South Alabama
The Tigers will travel to South Alabama for the first away game of the season. Norvell and crew leave Memphis a week after beating the Southern Jaguars and will try to beat another team named the Jaguars. Last year, South Alabama played Memphis in the Liberty Bowl, and they were not expected to play on a high level. They found a way to go into halftime tied 21-21. Memphis pulled away and won 52-35, but USA had 360 pass yards and three passing touchdowns.
The Tigers cannot start slow or overlook the capabilities of this team, or they will find themselves trying to make desperation plays. The Jaguars gave a good amount of fight to the Cornhuskers. They have potential.
Patrick Taylor Jr. will sit this game out, and the balance on offense will rely on Kenneth Gainwell to keep the South Alabama defense guessing.
I think the Tigers will win and have a good test on the road. But it will likely not come easy. Memphis should find enough of a challenge to not be in danger.
Score Prediction: Memphis 41-30 Southern