Memphis (8-2) vs. Temple (8-2) 12:00 pm
Memphis won 16-13 last season at home. The Tigers have lost two straight and have averaged 27 points per game in both losses to Navy and Houston. Temple is coming off of a loss to USF. In the last three games the Owls have allowed their opponents to rush for 226 yards per game.
The Tigers are averaging 43.7 points per game and are led by quarterback Paxton Lynch. The Tigers can stretch teams vertically with an up-tempo sophisticated passing attack that is averaging 344 yards per game. Lynch is dual threat quarterback that has a strong arm and great pocket awareness which allows him to locate open receivers down the field. He has completed 68.5% of his passes for 3,292 yards with 21 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Lynch can make all of the NFL type of throws and has great size standing at 6’7 (235 lbs.). He has shown great leadership this season and has shown composure in running the Tigers offensive scheme. Wide receiver Mose Frazier leads a speedy group of wide outs that can make plays over the middle of the field or over the top of opposing secondaries. Memphis is converting 50% on third down conversions and has a balanced attack that is rushing for 196 yards on the ground. Running back Doroland Dorceus leads the team with 565 rushing yards averaging 4.3 yards per carry with 8 scores. In order to get the toad win against Temple the Tigers offense must start fast and score early on to put the pressure on the Temple offense to respond. Memphis has struggled when ball control teams (Navy, USF) have run the football and kept Lynch and company off of the field. The Owls have the same type of methodical offense and it is important for the Tigers to get into a passing rhythm early on to wear down the Owls front seven.
The Tigers are allowing 29.3 points per game and are very good in stopping the run yielding 142 yards per game. Memphis is +1 in turnover margin and must do a better job on the road this weekend because the team is -2 on the road entering this game. The Tigers have done a good job at creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks and have recorded 23 sacks on the year. The weakness this season for the defense has been the secondary that is giving up 290 passing yards per game. Linebacker Wynton McManis is having a great season leading the team in total tackles with 50 and sacks with 3.5.
The Owls have averaged 32.9 points per game and have rushed for 153 yards per game with their physical, blue collar offensive line. Running back Jahad Thomas leads the team with 1,035 yards averaging 4.7 yards per carry with 15 touchdowns and must find running room early to key the home win. Temple has a run first mentality that likes to work off of play action with quarterback P.J Walker. Walker is a great athlete and has completed 56.2% of his passes for 2,029 yards with 15 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. The Owls are averaging 209 passing yards per game, but do not favor a high scoring up-tempo game. Temple likes to utilize a conservative ball control attack and relies on field position to score points. Wide receiver Robby Anderson leads the team with 41 receptions for 601 yards with 6 touchdowns. The Owls have shown the ability to force teams into their style of play and will need to do the same this weekend in Philadelphia to get the home win.
The Owls rely on their defense to win ball games and the unit is allowing 21 points per game this year. The Owls are yielding 132 rushing yard per game and are giving up 225 passing yard per game. The Owls have recorded 27 sacks and must collapse the pocket against Lynch to force errant decisions. Defensive lineman Nate Smith (team leading 7 sacks) is a physical player that is very strong at the point of attack and can create double teams by opposing offensive lines. Linebacker Tyler Matakevich is the emotional leader of the defense and leads the team with 96 total tackles with 4 sacks. Matekevich is always around the football and can shoot gaps in running lanes that forces teams to become one dimensional. The Owls are + 6 in turnover margin but are -1 at home this year.
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Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America),Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor atwww.2FiveSports.com.He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson(www.sportsxradio.com).
Joe has been featured on the FNTSY Sports Network and The Sid Rosenberg Sports Radio Show 640AM Sports (South Florida). You can follow him on Twitter: @Goforthe2.
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