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Helmsman roundtable: Memphis at USF

The Memphis Tigers football team (4-0) will hope to extend their 11-game winning streak when they face off against the USF Bulls in Tampa, Florida, on Friday.

We asked our two sports reporters Austin Reynolds and J.T. Mullen, and news/sports reporter Jonah Jordan for their thoughts on the upcoming game, which includes their bold predictions and score predictions.

DH: Do you think Memphis could be caught looking ahead to the Ole Miss game given USF's struggles?

AR: I really don’t think so. Memphis has a bye week before taking on Ole Miss, so I’d expect the team to be fully focused on USF since they have a full two weeks before the Ole Miss game.

JM: With the USF game coming in between the huge Cincinnati win and the highly anticipated matchup against rival Ole Miss; it is the definition of a trap game. That being said, USF is not a very strong football team. Their offense is one of the weakest in the conference. I expect Memphis to roll to a victory.

JJ: It’s entirely possible that the Tigers get caught looking ahead. Coach Fuente has been preaching about keeping focus on South Florida. The team could have lost focus before the Cincinnati game, but didn’t. The bye week being next week will help keep the team focused. If they do lose it will be easy to blame the bye week, though.

DH: What will be the key factor(s) in a Memphis victory/loss?

AR: Just everybody doing their job and limiting turnovers. Memphis is a better football team than USF by a decent margin, and if the Tigers play up to their standards they’re going to come away with the victory. If Memphis loses this game, it’ll likely be because they shot themselves in the foot with turnovers or something like that.

JM: Memphis has struggled all season against prolific passing offenses. Now they will be tasked in taking on a run heavy team, along with one of the best running backs in the conference, Marlon Mack. If Memphis can make a stand against the run on defense, Lynch and the offense should be able to bring home the W.

JJ: The Tigers have to pound the ball with their three running backs to win this game. The South Florida Bulls know the Tigers rely on big plays in the passing game and will be prepared. They allow 134.7 yards on the ground per game. If the Tigers get going on the ground they will win this game.

DH: Score predictions and/or bold predictions?

AR: My score prediction is 41-21 in favor of Memphis. My bold prediction is that Memphis’ defense finally steps up for the first time against an FBS opponent this season and keeps USF in check. In their two games against FBS teams this season, the Bulls have scored 14 points and 17 points. They’re not a great offensive team, and this is the time for the Tiger defense to step up.

JM: Paxton Lynch continues his dominate play with three or more touchdowns and Memphis wins 42-21.

JJ: The Tigers will win 34-14 and Sam Craft will have over 130 rushing yards.

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