The Memphis Tigers (4-0) will be heading back on the road to face the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (2-2). This will be the first time these two teams have faced off since the Tigers’ faced them in their 2017 season opener.
Memphis won that game 37-29 and are hoping they can get a similar result in unfamiliar territory and continue their undefeated season.
Tigers’ head coach Mike Norvell said he remembers the 2017 game well. When asked by the media for his thoughts on the Warhawks, he said he and his team have nothing but respect for them.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Norvell said. “We have great respect for the athleticism this team has. We know this is going to be a great matchup.”
The Tigers enter this game rested after playing their previous game Sept. 26 against Navy.
Despite an uninspiring first half, the Tigers were able to battle back and win 35-23 in the nationally televised game.
Quarterback Brady White led the charge offensively with three second-half touchdowns and 196 passing yards.
Even after leading his team to victory and their first 4-0 start since 2015, White told the media that he was not content with his team’s accomplishments and knew that a lot more needed to be done.
“Hell no, we’re not relaxing,” White said. “This is college football, and it’s tough to win because teams can sneak up on you at any time. It’s not 4-0, it’s about trying to be 1-0 every week.”
Defensively, the unit started slowly as well, allowing a season-high 217 rushing yards in the first half that helped the Midshipmen score 20 points.
But in the second half, the Tigers buckled down and limited the high-octane Navy offense to just 74 rushing yards and three points. Safety Sanchez Blake Jr. led the group in tackles with nine and the unit’s single interception.
Things have not come easily to the Warhawks this season, but they are still sitting at 2-2.
Last week they defeated the South Alabama Jaguars 30-17 and won their first Sun Belt Conference game of the season.
Led by quarterback Caleb Evans, the Warhawks’ 45th ranked offense methodically decimated the Jaguars defense through both their air and ground attacks.
Evans was the biggest standout, and in addition to his 313 yards from scrimmage, he led the team with four touchdowns.
Defensively, their pass rush had a big game and ended up with four sacks, led by linebacker Rashaad Harding, who had two sacks of his own.
Cornerback Corey Straughter was also able to force an interception, making his third straight game with a pick.
Warhawks’ head coach Matt Viator spoke with Louisiana media about the importance of Saturday’s game, especially for their home crowd.
“Anytime you get a team like Memphis coming to Malone Stadium, that’s good stuff,” Viator said. “I wasn’t here, but I’m just going to assume this was the best team since Baylor. No doubt about it.”
Though the Warhawks have managed to play up to some tough competition, I see this game knocking them below the .500 mark.
Memphis’ offense seems reinvigorated after a strong showing in the second half of the Navy game, and I do not see Louisiana’s 127th ranked defense being strong enough to stop them from having their way.
The same could be said for the Tigers’ defense, who have shown that they cannot only hang with the big boys but beat them too. The Warhawks’ offense should not pose too much of a concern.
Score Prediction: Memphis 48-10 ULM