After winning its most recent shootout over Tulsa, the Tigers return to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium this weekend when they host the Tulane Green Wave.
While the Tiger offense appears to be near perfection on its surface, the 47.8 points per game Memphis averages is third in the nation, Memphis coach Justin Fuente said being balanced going forward remains the key for a team, which rushed for more than 250 yards and passed for 447 in Friday’s win against the Golden Hurricane.
“We’ve wanted to be that equal threat to run or throw ball since we’ve been here,” said Fuente at his weekly media luncheon Monday. “Just over the last couple of years have we achieved it. So I think those things goes hand-and-hand. The ability to push the ball down the field, the ability to throw the ball on the outside combined with running the football. We don’t want to get into a situation where we are only doing one of those things.”
With the success comes attention and Tiger quarterback Paxton Lynch, who is currently in Mel Kiper’s, of ESPN, top ten on his NFL Draft big board, said he’s received advice from Fuente, in terms of handling all of his recent success.
“I’ve been talking to coach Fuente about it mainly because when he was at TCU he had (Cincinnati Bengals quarterback) Andy Dalton,” said Lynch, who has thrown for 2366 yards and has accounted for 19 total touchdowns and one interception this season. “Andy kind of went through a similar situation, so I just kind of take the wisdom he gives me.”
The Tiger defense, however, reverted back to its early season form Friday in Oklahoma, but despite giving up 42 points there were positives to be had. The defensive line, which until the last two weeks struggled to generate much pressure on the quarterback, recorded seven sacks in Friday’s win.
“I think some guys have played better,” Fuente said. “(Defensive end) Christian Johnson is one name that comes to mind. In one of our packages, (linebacker) Genard Avery has been at linebacker or moved out to the edge and he’s gotten into the backfield the last couple of weeks. There has been some player development. The bye week helped. Sometimes when you are in the middle of something when games are coming every seven days or every five days, it’s hard to make a whole lot of adjustments.”
-- For the second week in a row, University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week Monday for his performance against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Friday night.
Lynch threw for a career-best 447 yards and accounted for five total touchdowns in Memphis’ 66-42 win over Tulsa. It was the Deltona, Florida, native’s sixth consecutive 300-yard passing game.
-- In addition to being ranked No. 16 in the AP Poll and Amway Coaches Poll, the Tigers are now ranked No. 16 in a third poll, the Super 16 Poll. A poll sponsored by the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. Memphis is the first AAC team to make the Super 16 Poll this season.
Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch is fifth in the nation passer efficiency with 175.7.