Two of the major American Athletic Conference contenders meet when Tulane visits Memphis on Friday. Tulane is the defending AAC champion. Memphis has never won a title. These are two of the expected contenders that could number five or six teams.
Both teams are coming off a bye week so they will be well rested.
Tulane-Memphis How To Watch
Friday 7 p.m. (ET)
Tulane (4-1, 1-0 AAC)
Memphis (4-1, 1-1)
Tulane-Memphis Betting Line
Tulane -3.5 (-105)
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM
Tulane: Willie Fritz (201-115 overall, 47-46 at Tulane)
Memphis: Ryan Silverfield (25-16)
Oct. 22, 2022, Tulane won 38-28 at home.
Tulane took a 35-0 halftime lead before Memphis made it respectable in the second half. Winning QB Michael Pratt completed 20 of 29 passes for 159 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Pratt also rushed for 19 yards and a score. Tyjae Spears rushed for 125 yards (5.2 avg.) and one score. Jha’Quan Jackson returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown, the second-longest punt return in school history.
Darian Williams had 12 tackles, including one tackle for loss and a sack.
Memphis QB Seth Henigan completed 26 of 41 for 312 yards, three TDs, and two interceptions. Eddie Lewis added three receptions for 94 yards and two scores. Quindell Johnson led the Tigers with 13 tackles.
Why This Game Is Important
These are two of the contenders to reach the AAC title game. Even the losing team will still likely be in the race, but with another four or five contenders, nobody can likely afford to get far back, even though teams will play eight AAC games.
The Greem Wave have won three in a row following a 37-20 home loss to Ole Miss. The score was tied at 17 after three quarters before Ole Miss outscored Tulane 20-3 in the fourth quarter. Pratt missed that game due to injury.
He has played three games, including the last two. Pratt has completed 75.4% of his passes for 668 yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception. A threat to run, Pratt has run for 112 yards (4.3 avg.) and a score. Don’t be surprised if he uses his running skills more against Memphis.
Redshirt freshman Makhi Hughes is the leading rusher with 368 yards (5.1 avg.) and three TDs. Redshirt senior Lawrence Keys III, who began his career at Notre Dame, has been a big-play receiver. He has 20 receptions for 399 yards (19.95 avg.) and four touchdowns.
Junior LB Jesus Machado leads the defense with 42 tackles.
Tulane averages 29.8 points per game, but the Green Wave have been more impressive on defense, where they are 21st nationally in scoring defense, allowing 17.4 points per game.
The Tigers bounced back from a 34-27 home loss to Missouri to defeat visiting Boise State 35-32 its last time out.
Geoffrey Cantin-Arku gave Memphis its first lead when he blocked a field goal and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown.
Memphis averages 36.6 points and allows 21.4 ppg. The Tigers are tied for 18th nationally in scoring offense and 43rd in scoring defense.
Henigan has completed 68.5% of his passes for 1,376 yards, 10 touchdowns, and five interceptions.
Blake Watson, a transfer from Old Dominion, has rushed for 455 yards (5.9 avg.) and six touchdowns. Roc Taylor has been the leading receiver with 27 receptions for 399 yards and two scores.
Redshirt sophomore LB Chandler Martin, a transfer from East Tennessee State, where he made 99 tackles last year, leads Memphis with 35 tackles.
I like Tulane -3.5
Tulane has the experience from winning last year’s AAC title and we haven’t seen Pratt yet have a breakout game. This is as good a time as any.
The key for this game will be the production for Watson, who will be facing a strong Tulane run defense. Tulane allows just 84 rushing yards per game, which is ninth nationally. More impressively, the Green Wave allows just 2.6 yards per carry, which is fourth nationally.
While Henigan is an accomplished passer, he is prone to throwing interceptions. That is why it is important that he has a running game, to keep the Tulane defense from simply teeing off on the Memphis QB.
The combination of Tulane’s run defense and the experience of Pratt makes this a pick for the Green Wave.