The University of Louisiana Monroe (2-2) is a classic trap game for the Memphis Tigers.
For the 4-0 Tigers, it sits between two very good conference teams – Navy and Temple. It is a couple of days after Memphis Madness, the ultimate hypefest for the school and the city. Finally it is the first game the Tigers will play while being ranked in the top 25 in the Amway Coaches’ poll.
The Tigers will need to avoid overconfidence and complacency against a team they’re “supposed” to beat.
Head Coach Mike Norvell stated that junior TE Sean Dykes and freshman Cole Mashburn will miss the remainder of the season because of injuries. There was good news with Chris Claybrooks. The projected starting cornerback from Nashville has missed the entire season so far but has been practicing. Though he hasn’t been ruled out for this week, Claybrooks most likely will return next week against Temple. Patrick Taylor has been ruled out for this week, but may return to the lineup next week as well.
Could be a great day for Tigers to run
UL-Monroe has given up 248.8 rushing yards per game – which happens to be the strongest part of the Tigers’ offensive attack. Memphis has averaged 196.5 yards per game. The Tigers had two 100-yard rushers in one game already this season.
Kenny Gainwell has led with the way with 444 yards rushing this season. Gainwell has 2-100-yard rushing games this season. The most by a freshman is four by Deangelo Williams (2002). Kylan Watkins has also seen significant action in the absence of Taylor.
Defense will be tested
This will be the largest offensive line that Tigers have faced this season. The Warhawks offensive line and tight ends has an average height and weight of 6-4, 291 pounds. The Tigers defensive line comes in at 6-2 271 pounds. The Tigers pass defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation in yards allowed (103.0) per game.
Josh Johnson has rushed for 479 yards and four touchdowns for the Warhawks. QB Caleb Evans has thrown for 886 yards eight touchdowns and only two interceptions on the year. Monroe has been averaging 31.3 points per game and their losses have come at the hands of Florida State (45-44) and Iowa State (72-20).
Memphis QB Brady White had one of his worst halves of the season last week against Navy, but came out in the second half to lead the Tigers to a come-from-behind win. White has been very efficient in the passing game this season completing over 73 percent of his passes. White has passed for 914 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Tigers with their depth at multiple positions has been able to out-talent and out-execute opponents this season. A balanced attack of the rushing, passing, defense and special teams have come up big at critical times.
The Tigers and UL-Monroe will kick off at 2:45 pm CDT and the game can be seen on ESPNU.
Mike Norvell earned his 30th victory in the win over Navy. He is the sixth coach to win 30 games and ties Ralph Hatley and Billy J. Murphy for getting to 30 wins the fastest (44 games).