The Memphis Tigers (5-1) will be taking on their second straight conference opponent, the Tulane Green Wave (5-1).
When these two teams faced off against each other last season, Tulane’s rushing attack and defense were too much for the Tigers to handle, and they lost the game in New Orleans 40-24. Their biggest margin of defeat against a conference opponent last season.
Now one season later, both teams are entering the game 5-1 and are looking to get the necessary advantage to get to the top of the AAC West.
Say what you will about the controversy that followed the game, things would have been easier for Memphis if they had done a better job of limiting their multiple first-half mistakes.
In the first quarter alone, they turned the ball over on three straight drives and were already at a 13-0 deficit after the first 15 minutes of action.
The momentum shifted in the second quarter, allowing the Tigers to get on the board for the first time as they continued to score at least once in the following quarters.
The Tigers lost the game 30-28, but the team did its best to mount a comeback.
Running back Kenneth Gainwell looked like the best player on the field and had 204 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
He led the team in both rushing and receiving yards and added to his ‘Doak Walker’ award campaign.
Quarterback Brady White had an uncommonly sloppy game where he threw for 363 yards but was responsible for three of his team’s four turnovers.
Mike Norvell talked about his team’s mistakes and how they did not show up on game day.
“I don’t know if there is any team in the country that works with ball security more than we do,” Norvell said. “But it has to show up on game day. Sometimes you try to do a little too much and lose focus on your fundamentals.”
To the Tigers’ credit, they were not the only ones turning the ball over. They forced the Owls to fumble twice in the game. T.J. Carter and Joseph Dorceus each came away with fumble recoveries.
Tulane Green Wave
The Green Wave are currently riding a four-game winning streak, with their latest opponent being the UConn Huskies, who they defeated 49-7 at home.
Things were going well for Tulane from the onset as they outscored the Huskies 42-0 through the first three-quarters of play.
Everything they attempted offensively worked perfectly, and they finished the game with an impressive 634 yards of offense.
Quarterback, Justin McMillan single-handedly dismantled UConn’s defense as he threw for 231 yards, rushed for 37 and had three touchdowns.
Tulane used a multitude of players to get their running game going. They used nine different rushers combining for 311 rushing yards and were responsible for three of the team’s seven touchdowns. They have the fourth-best run game in the nation in terms of rushing yards per game.
The offense was not the only group that was putting points on the board.
Tulane’s safety, Macon Smith, had a pick-six in the second quarter. He also had nine tackles.
What will determine this game is whether or not the Tigers will get off to a sloppy start for the second week in a row.
An offense as talented as Tulane’s will not be like Temple and get field goals off early turnovers. They have all the capabilities to turn those mistakes into touchdowns.
Even with an improved defense, the Tigers cannot be tasked with repeatedly having to defend a short field. Especially when they already have to worry about holding the nation’s 13th ranked offense.
The Tigers know just how important this game is, and I believe that their defense will do a good job of keeping things close with Tulane.
Score Prediction: Memphis 23-21 Tulane