April 13, 2024

Three Keys for Memphis to Win In Dallas

Photo Credits- Raymond Chiozza Photography

As mentioned, the Memphis Tigers will play the Utah State Aggies in the Servpro First Responders Bowl. In our last piece on this game, we broke down who the Aggies are. Now, let’s find out what it will take for Memphis to win. We have found three keys to this game for Memphis that, if accomplished, will help them win.  What are these keys to a win, and how are they achieved? Let’s find out.

Three Keys to A Memphis Bowl Win

1. Let Seth Henigan Do Seth Henigan Things

The sophomore quarterback from Denton, Texas, has continued to excel this season by completing 265/416 passes for 3,275 yards for 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Henigan averaged 272 yards per game through the air and finished with 313 on 135 rushes on the season.  Offensive Coordinator, Tim Cramsey, needs to call plays to utilize the weapons, such as leading rusher Jevyon Ducker {473 yards, 5 Tds, long of 50 on 97 carries}, and freshman sensation. Sutton Smith {121 yards, 2 Tds, on 23 carries} in the backfield. Henigan will also need breakout star tight end and leading receiver Caden Prieskorn, who has burst onto the scene for this offense. Prieskorn has 46 catches for 593 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

 These players and more will need to continue to play well. As of late, the offensive line has performed better than earlier in the season, and this will be a must for Henigan’s success. Memphis is 2-0 under Silverfield when 500 yards of the offense have over. Could Seth have a career day in front of a home crowd? Henigan currently sits at fifth all-time in attempts, with 8-9, completions, with 500 yards, with 6,587, and touchdown passes, with 44, in his short career. This key will involve many different factors, but the number one factor is the offensive line. If the line can keep Henigan upright, Seth will do the rest. Let Seth Be Seth!

2. Create Extra Possessions.

The Memphis defense dating back to last season, has been a turnover machine. The Tigers have forced at least one turnover n 14 of their last 17 games. Over this stretch, Memphis has a total of 21 interceptions and ten fumbles. In 10 of the last 17 games, this stingy defense has caused multiple turnovers. Senior defensive back, Quindell Johnson, has been the heart and soul of this defense this season. Johnson ranks 17th in the nation with four interceptions.

 Players such as linebacker Xavier “Zay” Cullens, who is second in the nation with four fumble recoveries, have all made this defense a force to close the season out. If this defense can turn over the Aggies, this could be a long day for their offense and a fun day for first-year coordinator Matt Barnes and the fans watching. This key to a win will be a physical one to watch take place based on how this unit has progressed this season.

3. Finish

Memphis must finish this game. This season, Memphis has lost games at the last moment, and at times it has been because of this team not finishing their opponents. After an opening season thrashing at the hands of Mississippi State {RIP Mike Leach}, Memphis would win four straight games. This is when finishing became an issue after close losses to Houston and East Carolina. As the season closed, this team began to learn how to finish seemingly. This key will be the most vital of the three. It is simple yet very complex in reality. Just finish!

Silverfield Meets With The Media

If Memphis can accomplish these three keys, its chances of winning will jump exponentially. Ryan Silverfield met with the media today and was optimistic about the team’s practices leading up to game day. I asked the following question about the bowl and its meaning, especially with the events before the Navy game.

 Silverfield responded to my question, “Yeah, Wes, I think that’s a huge note. Right? Obviously, our first responders mean so much to us, not only in Memphis but obviously throughout this world, and you know, at one point, my wife was a nurse and now a doctor. So, um, it kind of hits home with me a little bit in that nature, but we’ve understood how wonderful those people have been for our society. And obviously, as you mentioned, the events that occurred in Memphis. So, it’s great, obviously, with all that comes along with the obligation to honor and appreciate those people, and we certainly do as a program, and we will continue to do so. And then, you know, the Ballgame itself, surf pro, and the Dallas and the rest of the sponsors have been absolutely fantastic. The Western Hotel, everybody that’s been involved. We just were so appreciative of everybody’s hospitality.”

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