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The Opposition: UH returns to action against Memphis

UH quarterback Clayton Tune unleashes a pass as two Memphis defenders close in during a 2019 regular season game at TDECU Stadium. | Katrina Martinez/The Cougar

UH quarterback Clayton Tune unleashes a pass as a Memphis defender closes in during a 2019 regular season game at TDECU Stadium. | Katrina Martinez/The Cougar

Houston, coming off three straight cancellations, will head to Memphis to play its first game in nearly a full month on Saturday.

The last time the Cougars competed was Nov. 14 against USF, where UH ran away with the dominant win at home. 

The Tigers (6-3, 4-3 American Athletic Conference) will host the Cougars (3-3, 3-2 AAC) after suffering a 35-21 loss against Tulane. 

Despite having a 15-13 edge on the Tigers, Houston has not fared too well against Memphis in the most recent face-offs, most recently dropping last year’s game 45-27

Memphis’ season so far

In its final road game of the regular season, Memphis fell short against Tulane, which leaves the Tigers sitting at No. 6 in the AAC.

Memphis has an offensive star in senior quarterback Brady White. As the Tigers’ all-time leader in career passing touchdowns, White leads Memphis’ offense, which comes in at No. 3 in passing yards per game in the conference. White has thrown for over 2,850 yards in nine games.

While the Tigers are successful when it comes to passing offense, their running game is a bit explosive but still solid, putting up 149.8  rushing yards per game. They have scored a total of nine touchdowns on the ground this season. 

The team has struggled to defend the pass. Memphis’ defense has given 2,760 yards and 21 touchdowns for the year. When it comes to defending the run, however, the Tigers have performed better, allowing only 146.4 yards per game.

In the three-score win over Houston last year, White had a showing of six touchdowns, including one rushing, for 341 yards.

Memphis relied on seniors to propel the offense last year in positions like wide receiver and running back. This season, along with first year head coach Ryan Silverfield, the Tigers have had to rely on a new set of players at skill positions.

What to look out for

UH had an impressive showing of 319 rushing yards against USF, which it will need to exploit against a depleted Tigers’ team, who are one of the better teams when it comes to stopping the run in the conference. 

The Cougars will also need to focus on executing in the pass game. Junior quarterback Clayton Tune only threw for 157 passing yards and a touchdown against the Tigers a season ago.

On defense, the Cougars will have to put pressure on White to limit the damage his aerial attack can do as he did a season ago.

Where to watch

The game will take place at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CT. It will air on ESPNU and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM radio. 

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