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November 14, 2013

Know your opponent: Memphis

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Team: University of Memphis

Location: Memphis, Tennessee

2013 Record: 2-6 (0-4 AAC) 2012 Record: 4-8 (4-4 C-USA)

Head Coach: Justin Fuente (1st year)

Kick-off: 7 PM at Raymond James Stadium, ESPN 3

The USF Bulls are 2-6 (2-2) and have waited two weeks since their last loss to Houston to get back to action. Freshman quarterback Mike White gave the Bulls energy and nearly pulled off the upset win. The Bulls, coming off of a bye week, return to take on a Memphis team that is struggling just like the Bulls. The Tigers are coming off of a 21 to 6 win over UT Martin last week and will be an interesting match for the Bulls as the 2013 slowly comes to an end.

The Offense

Quarterback
Redshirt freshman Paxton Lynch stands in at 6'6" 225 lbs. and has had a decent season so far. He has completed 149 passes out of 247 attempts for 1522 yards for 6 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He has carried the ball 64 times for 19 yards and a touchdown. He isn't a huge running threat but can move in the pocket and move when needed. The Bulls will need to get pressure on him and force him into mistakes if they want to win the game.

Running backs
The top running back is senior Brandon Hayes (5'8" 198 lbs.) who leads the team with 132 carries for 625 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and 4 touchdowns. Behind him is freshman Marquis Warford (5'8" 175 lbs.) who has 50 carries for 302 yards (6 yards per carry) and 1 touchdown. Both are smaller backs and look for space to get their yards to get up field.

Wide Receivers
Junior Joe Craig (5'11" 175 lbs.) leads the team with 31 receptions for 284 yards and 1 touchdown on the season. Redshirt sophomore Tevin Jones (6'2" 215 lbs.) who has 21 receptions for 263 yards and 1 touchdown. Jones is a bigger target than Craig and could be more of a redzone threat in the game for the USF secondary. Redshirt sophomore Mose Frazier has 16 receptions for 275 yards and a touchdown, evening out the receiving corps for Memphis. They do not rely on one target, giving the secondary more of a challenge.

The Defense

Defensive line
The Tigers run a 3-4 base defense. One of their top pass rushers is redshirt junior Martin Ifedi (6'3" 265 lbs.). He has 39 tackles including 12.5 TFL and 8.5 sacks, making him one of the key pass rushers the Bulls have to block in this game. Redshirt sophomore Ricky Hunter (6'3" 275 lbs.) has 20 tackles including 7 TFL and 2 sacks on the year, teaming up with Ifedi to make a strong pass rush for the Tigers.

Linebackers
Junior Charles Harris (6'2" 243 lbs.) is the key middle linebacker in their 3-4 defense and has 46 tackles with 2 TFL on the year. Weakside linebacker Anthony Brown (6'2" 245 lbs.) has 30 tackles including 3 TFL and 1 sack on the year, playing well off the outside. A key player to watch is junior Tank Jakes (5'11" 225 lbs.) who doesn't start, but has 51 tackles including 7.5 TFL and 2 sacks, making him a player that will rotate in and will make an impact in the game when he gets a chance to play.

Secondary
At cornerback is junior Andrew Gaines (5'11" 185 lbs.) who has 39 tackles, .5 TFL, 5 PBU, and 5 PD, making him a solid defensive back that can make plays. Fellow junior corner Bobby McCain (5'11" 190 lbs.) has 17 tackles, 1 TFL, and leads the team with 3 interceptions. Senior free safety Lonnie Ballentine (6'3" 220 lbs.) has 38 tackles, including 3 PBU and 3 PD, showing he can play the ball while still making tackles in the box and will have to be watched the entire game.

Special Teams
The top kicker for Memphis is Jake Elliott who is 11 for 12 on field goals this season with a long of 52 yards (matches Marvin Kloss on his longest as well). Tom Hornsey has punted the ball 41 times, averaging 45.2 yards per kick (had a long of 79 yards). With scoring at a luxury in this game, the battle for field position will become even more important.

Overview

This is a game with two struggling teams. Memphis has been bad all year and so has USF, despite showing signs in the last week. The Bulls have more wins in the AAC, but at this stage in the year, both sides are just trying to build for the future and trying to get the foundation set for the next season. This is a game the Bulls should and could win, they just have to put it together and make it happen.



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