The main focus of the Memphis vs North Texas Preview should be Defense.
Neither one of these teams can get off the field on third down. North Texas Mean Green, through 2 games, is 116 of 129 in FBS third-down defense. The Memphis Tigers are 128 of the 129 listed. Whichever team can get off the field to bring in their high-powered offense will win this game.
Memphis vs North Texas Preview (Offense)
Seth Henigan is justifying the coaches’ decision to bench Grant Gunnell and make him the start. The same Grant Gunnell that is challenging Layne Hatcher.
QB Layne Hatcher has some good numbers, but Memphis QB Seth Henigan has an outstanding year. 10th in QB efficiency, six touchdowns, no interceptions. North Texas relies on RB Ayo Adebi, who’s averaging 83 yards per game. Memphis has a multi-pronged running attack, with one game Asa Martin leading, another game Jevyon Ducker leading in rushing, and so forth.
Special teams standout for North Texas is their junior defensive back Kaylen Horton. He has returned 7 kickoffs for 223 yards, an average of 31.9 yards per return. That’s good enough for top 10 in the country. The Memphis main kick returner is Gabriel Rogers, returning 7 kickoffs for 155 yards. His 22.1 yard average return is in the NCAA top 30 average.
Memphis vs North Texas Preview (Defense)
The Memphis defense made several late defensive stops last game against Arkansas State. But the defensive woes against passing still continued, giving up 32 points. Most of the yards came against a secondary that’s still young. For the first time the Memphis Tigers didn’t cause turnovers. But Memphis needs a good rush this week, as North Texas has only allowed 2 sacks this year.
Memphis defense needs to play a complete game against a balanced team offense. In the first three games, Mississippi State and Arkansas State had top 30 passing quarterbacks, and Navy was a run-first offense. But defensive leader Quindell Johnson and last game’s leading tackler Jaylon Allen have to step up against the North Texas Mean Green. For background reading on backup QB Grant Gunnell and his transfer from the Memphis Tigers to North Texas, you should read this excellent article from the Denton Record-Chronicle.
Memphis up front should take control this game. This Thursday trench prediction has Jacob Likes and the Memphis offensive line should kick-start the running game, and QB Seth Henigan will have another outstanding game – but watch out for the team speed of the Mean Green secondary.
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