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Helmsman roundtable: Memphis at Temple

The Tigers will play their final road game of the 2015 season Saturday when they travel to Philadelphia to face off against the Temple Owls. Memphis will hope to end its recent two-game skid against an Owls team that lost 44-23 on the road to South Florida last weekend. The Daily Helmsman asked its two sports reporters Austin Reynolds and J.T. Mullen on their thoughts ahead of Saturday’s game.

Was Memphis' losing streak inevitable looking back, given the rise in competition?

AR: I don't think so. Memphis has played a few really close games this season and these last couple were really tough, but the Tigers are good enough that losing both comes as a bit of a shock. Going undefeated in the three-game stretch of Navy, Houston and Temple would have been really, really tough, but I didn't expect Memphis to be 0-2 going into the last game of it.

JM: I wouldn't say it was inevitable, but definitely not a big surprise. Navy and Houston have been fantastic all season long, having an 18-1 record between the two of them, with the lone loss coming from No. 5 Notre Dame. If there were conference games Memphis was going to lose it was definitely going to be in this three-game stretch.

How good is Temple still? They've had their struggles in recent weeks.

AR: I think Temple is a really good team, but not in the same class as Houston or Navy. They've had some questionable games this season (only beating UMass by two points), and the last couple of games for them have been pretty shocking, with the defense just totally falling apart. It will be interesting to see how that defense holds up against Memphis on Saturday.

 JM: Yes, they have struggled recently, but this is still a Temple squad that almost upset Notre Dame last month. This is one of the best defensive teams in the nation and probably the best in the American Athletic Conference. This team is still very good and with a defense of this caliber I expect Memphis' offense to be stifled for at least the first few possessions.

Memphis wins this game if?

AR: Memphis wins if they can put a decent amount of points on the board. With the exception of a super weird 60-40 win over SMU a couple weeks ago Temple's offense hasn't really been anything special this season. It's been the Owls' defense that has won them in games. If the Tigers can put up points they should win.

JM: Memphis will win if they play four entire quarters of composed football. Last week we saw this team handle a great Houston team for three quarters before falling apart in the fourth. If the Tigers play hungry and composed for the entirety of this football game I expect them to win. The key will not becoming complacent if they take the lead.

Score prediction? Why?

AR: Memphis wins 34-27. Last week I said that I just couldn’t see a scenario where the Tigers lose two games in a row this season. Well, I was clearly wrong, so this week I'm just going to say that I can't see a scenario where they lose three in a row. Temple's offense isn't all that great and their once great defense has been a little shaky in recent weeks. I'm taking Memphis.

JM: I don't expect too high of a score in this game because of Temple's defense, but I'm taking Memphis still in a 31-27 victory because they are the better overall team.

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