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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Commentary

Scouting the Memphis Tigers


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This is the second season in UH history for the Cougars to start 9-0 as they remain the last undefeated team in the American Athletic Conference. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

 

Coming off a hard fought 33-30 victory over the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, the No. 24 Cougars look to stay undefeated and remain atop the AAC West as they welcome the No. 21 University of Memphis Tigers to TDECU Stadium.

The Tigers enter the matchup coming off their first loss of the season, dropping a 45-20 heartbreaker against the No. 20 Navy Midshipmen after having previously been ranked as high as No. 13 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Memphis is under the helm of fourth-year head coach Justin Fuente, whose high-octane offense has led to major victories including a 55-48 victory over BYU in last year’s Miami Beach Bowl and a 37-24 victory over then No. 13 University of Mississippi.

Fuente led last season’s Tigers to a 10-3 record, the team’s first winning season since 2007 as well as their first season with double-digit wins since a 10-0 1938 campaign.

The Tigers offense, led by quarterback Paxton Lynch, is scoring at a blistering pace with an average of 547 yards and 44.8 points per game, good for second and first in the AAC respectively.

Lynch leads the AAC in both passing yards and touchdowns and the 6-foot-7-inch, 245-pound junior has many scouts predicting he’ll be one of the first picks in next April’s NFL draft.

The Memphis offense doesn’t just rely on the pass as they are averaging nearly 200 rushing yards per game and have four rushers with at least 250 yards and four touchdowns.

Redshirt sophomore Doroland Dorceus leads the way for the Tigers with 449 yards on 103 attempts with seven touchdowns and is a receiving threat out of the backfield with seven catches for 114 yards and one touchdown on the season.

The Tigers defense has gotten into a few shoot-outs this year and has, at times, been vulnerable while relying on their offense to outscore the opponent.

Memphis currently ranks eighth in the AAC in points allowed, giving up 28.7 points per game and 437.2 yards per game, while holding opponents to just 33 touchdowns.

The Tiger defense is led by sophomore linebacker Genard Avery who has a team-leading 49 tackles including 28 for loss and three sacks.

Overall, this should be a close game featuring two very fast-paced and high-scoring offenses. A slight edge goes to the Cougars, however, due to their defense and propensity for forcing a turnover when needed.

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