#43 Memphis Football 2019 Preview

Memphis Tigers
Overall Rank: #43
#3 American
 Memphis Logo
Memphis was so close to going 11-3 last season. They lost three games by a total of five points, including a three-point loss to Wake Forest in the Birmingham Bowl. This year the goal is to win the American Athletic Conference and possibly reach a New Year’s Six bowl.
2018 Record: 8-6, 5-3
2018 Bowl: Birmingham Bowl vs. Wake Forest (L 34-37)
Coach: Mike Norvell (26-14 at Memphis, 26-14 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Johns
Defensive Coordinator: Adam Fuller
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Patrick Taylor, RB, 1,122 yards
Passing: Brady White, QB, 3,296 yards
Receiving: Damonte Coxie, WR, 1,174 yards
Tackles: Tyrez Lindsey, S, 71
Sacks: Bryce Huff, DE, 9.5
Interceptions: TJ Carter, CB, 2
Other Key Returnees: WR Pop Williams, TE Joey Magnifico, OL Dustin Woodard, S Josh Perry, LB Austin Hall, LB JJ Russell, DE Joseph Dorceus
Key Losses: RB Darrell Henderson, WR Tony Pollard, OL Trevon Tate, LB Curtis Akins, CB Tito Windham
Memphis tallied over 523 yards per game last season and most of the weapons are back for this to be an even better offense. Running back Darrell Henderson is gone after rushing for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns, but Patrick Taylor is ready to take over. He rushed for 1,122 yards and 16 scores splitting carries with Henderson. Quarterback Brady White had a superb debut season for the Tigers, throwing for 3,296 yards and 26 touchdowns. Damonte Coxie will again be the go-to-receiver after catching 72 passes for 1,174 yards. Pop Williams and tight end Joey Magnifico are very good targets too and this is an offense that could outscore just about anybody.
Memphis’ defense did improve last season, but they still were not particularly good. But that was a very young group and the expectations are quickly rising. Bryce Huff, Joseph Dorceus and Jonathan Wilson are all very good pass rushers and the front seven is in great hands. The secondary was the weak spot last year, but the hope is that all of the sophomores will be more consistent as juniors. Tyrez Lindsey and Josh Perry are back at the safety spots and T.J. Carter could emerge as the shutdown corner on this team. Regardless of who steps up, Memphis has a lot of talent in the secondary and now they have some experience too.
The Bottom Line:
This could be a very special season for Memphis. The conference slate is relatively friendly too. The Tigers avoid UCF and host Cincinnati and SMU. A November road trip to Houston and South Florida will be difficult, but by then Memphis could be on a roll and the team to beat in the AAC.
Projected Bowl: Military Bowl
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 279.9 (4th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 243.2 (56, 7)
Total Offense: 523.1 (4, 1)
Scoring Offense: 42.9 (7, 3)
Rushing Defense: 171.8 (76, 4)
Pass Defense: 256.4 (105, 8)
Total Defense: 428.1 (89, 6)
Scoring Defense: 31.9 (94, 6)
Turnover Margin: 0.29 (44, 6)
Sacks: 2.64 (32, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.71 (37, 4)