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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Football

Memphis will give Houston tall task Friday


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Last season, the Cougars needed a historic comeback to knock off the Memphis Tigers. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

It’s the final regular season game for the Cougars, and they’ll carry their three-game win streak to Memphis, Tennessee to take on the University of Memphis Tigers.

The Cougars must clear this final hurdle to find themselves in a big-time bowl game. Getting past the Tigers won’t be easy as they are a well-rounded team with a steady 7-4 record.

The Memphis will also look to end their season on a high note.

“They’ve got a lot to play for,” said head coach Tom Herman in his press conference. “It will be a tremendous challenge for us going on the road.”

The Tigers have the 36th-ranked offense in the NCAA, which isn’t sub-par considering they lost Paxton Lynch, one of the best players in school history, to the NFL draft following last season.

Lynch’s replacement has been junior quarterback Riley Ferguson. He has done an admirable job this season by throwing 24 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.

Ferguson is also 18th in the entire NCAA with 2,917 passing yards.

Although Ferguson was injured in the game against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, the Tigers were still able to win by a lopsided score of 34-7.

However, Ferguson had limited participation in Monday’s practice and is listed as questionable for Friday’s game. If he isn’t able to go, senior quarterback Jason Stewart will likely get the start.

If Ferguson isn’t able to dress out, the Cougars will receive a huge break and should pose fits for the Tiger offense against the much-improved Cougar defense.

Memphis has the 79th-ranked defense in the NCAA and is giving up an average of 452 yards per game to opposing offenses.

There isn’t a major playmaker on this Tiger defense, and many players have similar defensive stats. However, junior linebacker Genard Avery has numbers that jump off the page slightly more than others.

Avery is third on the team in tackles with 67, first on the team in sacks with five and he’s tied for the team lead in interceptions with two.

It’s hard to think that anyone can stop the Cougars at the moment after their dominant performance against the University of Louisville Cardinals. Memphis will look for a solid performance from Avery and company if they hope to slow down the Cougars’ offensive attack.

The Cougars seek a to end their regular season on a positive note with a win on the road against an admirable American Athletic Conference opponent and atone for their losses to Southern Methodist University and the United States Naval Academy.

“Winning is very hard, but it’s what we’re supposed to do around here,” Herman said. “Regardless of what’s at stake we have a job to do, and that’s to win a football game for the University of Houston.”

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