The Memphis Tigers had a bad trip to Philadelphia last week, a heartbreaking loss to the Temple Owls.
Players are still bothered by the controversial call of the non-catch by Joey Magnifico. Had it been ruled valid, Memphis would have been in position to attempt a game-winning field goal. Now the Tigers have to get over that loss and focus their thoughts on Tulane.
Tulane defeated Memphis last season 40-24. During his weekly media chat, Mike Norvell stressed the importance of putting the Temple game in the rearview.
“I hate losing. That is part of being a competitor,” Norvell said. “You talk about getting past it, you have to move on. That’s part of this game. It doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it. You learn from the experience and you get your eyes up and press forward for what you need to do to be successful this week.”
Tulane ranks near the top of many statistical categories in the American this season. The Green Wave is second in scoring defense (19.3), first in total offense (552 yards per game) and second in total defense, allowing just 325 yards per game.
“I think you’ll see a well-coached team, with really good football players,” Norvell said of Tulane. “I have a ton of respect for Will (Hall) and the job he does. He’s done a great job with what they’re doing schematically, utilizing the playmakers that they have.”
Win the turnover battle
The last two games, the Tigers have developed the turnover bug. Against Temple, the Tigers turned the football over on three of their first 16 plays and allowed the Temple Owls to score nine points off of those turnovers.
The Tigers lost the turnover margin to the University of Louisiana-Monroe, but were able to hold on to win. Memphis quarterback Brady White was involved in all four turnovers in the Temple game.
Stop the run
Last season, the Green Wave torched the Tigers with 318 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Darius Bradwell rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns and Corey Dauphine rushed for 87 yards and also scored two touchdowns. Both return this season for Tulane.
Tulane is second in the American Athletic Conference in rushing offense with 314.5 yards per game. While the Tigers are near the bottom in rushing defense 181.5 yards per game.
Back to the basics
For the Tigers to get back on the winning track, they’ll need to get back to what they do best: Control the clock.
The Tigers best defense is a consistent offense that is able to run the clock. Kenny Gainwell had 106 rushing yards and 98 receiving yards in the loss to Temple. Once the Tigers got out of their own way, they were able to keep the football away from the Owls and wore down the defense.
We’ll see if Memphis can recover from their most disappointing game of the season. For one, Norvell is predicting a game for the ages.
“If you want to see a championship-caliber game, come to the Liberty Bowl Stadium on Saturday,” he said.
Memphis Tigers vs. Tulane Green Wave will be played at the Liberty Bowl Stadium at 6 p.m. on October 19 and will be televised on ESPN2. Memphis won’t play again at home until November.