College Football Preview: Memphis vs. Louisville

Memphis Tigers at Louisville Cardinals
Date – Saturday, October 9, 2010
Location – Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium
Time – 2:00 pm
TV – none, broadcast on ESPN3.com
Radio – 840 AM WHAS

The Cards return home after getting their first road win since the 2008 season. That last road win came at Memphis, who comes into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for Saturday’s game. This will be the 42nd meeting between these two rivals, with UofL holding a 22-19 advantage. The Cards sit at 2-2 and are still trying to play their first complete game of the season and Memphis presents a good opportunity for that.

About the Tigers

Memphis enters this game struggling, and that may be an understatement. The Tigers are 1-4 and haven’t looked particularly good. The defeated Middle Tennessee State 24-17 on September 18 for their lone win. However, they are coming off a public beatdown at the hands of Tulsa 48-7, at home. Their other losses came against Mississippi State, East Carolina, and UTEP.

Larry Porter is in his first season as Memphis’ head coach. Porter is a Memphis alum, but has been working for the idiot, Les Miles, at LSU the past five seasons. Previously, he was with the same idiot at Oklahoma State. He inherited a very young roster as thirteen players are listed on the two deep depth chart.

Offensively, the Tigers are not impressive. They average 113.8 rushing yards per game and 172.6 passing yards per game, which is (not so) good for 110th in total offense at 286.4 yards per game. The Tigers have scored less than 14 points in three of their five games. Steve Kragthorpe looks at those offensive numbers and laughs.

The Tigers’ best threats on offense are running backs Jerrell Rhodes and Gregory Ray. Rhodes, no relation to the American Dream Dusty Rhodes, as far we know, leads Memphis in rushing with 283 yards and a touchdown. Ray has 269 yards and two scores. They are two legitimate threats when they touch the ball and possibly, the Tigers’ best weapons.

On the defensive side, Memphis is equally as bad. The Tigers give up 155 yards on the ground each game, as well as 253.8 yards through the air. They give up over 35 points per game, and that’s not against a schedule loaded with top 10 teams. They rank 94th in the nation in total defense. Jamon Hughes is all over the field for the Tigers’ defense and averages over 11 tackles per game, good for 8th in the country.

Louisville offense vs. Memphis defense

The Louisville offense, despite some key injuries, is really starting to get in a rhythm. Quarterback Adam Froman is really in a groove right now and leads the Big East in total offense. Running back Bilal Powell is indeed the face of the program as Charlie Strong said he would be, and receiver Josh Bellamy has stepped up the past two games. I really like how the Cardinal offense has progressed to this point.

Against Memphis, I think the Cards will want to establish the run early with Bilal and Victor Anderson, and try to run the ball down the Tigers’ throat. Running the football is something Charlie Strong wants to do, regardless of the opponent, and it’s something you want to do against inferior competition. And make no mistake, Memphis is indeed inferior competition.

Louisville defense vs. Memphis offense

On the defensive side, I think the key for the Cards is to pressure the quarterback. Louisville, with their questionable secondary, cannot afford to let Memphis quarterback Ryan Williams sit back in the pocket and scan the field. The Cards’ corners, and defense as a whole, have played better than most thought going into the season, but they are not yet good enough to cover receivers for extended possessions. It will imperative the Cards set up shop in the Memphis backfield. I look for BJ Butler to have himself a game and be one of the main tenants in the backfield.

Pinkie Prediction

The Cards should win, and win big. Memphis is not very good and the Cards should be fired up about getting to over .500 for the first time since 2008. I look for Bilal Powell to have another good game, but I also think this is when we see Victor Anderson finally get in the endzone. Cards win this one 38-17.


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