The objective for the rest of the year for Riley Ferguson is pretty clear. It’s nothing more than an audition and early interview for NFL scouts. Like the guy who came before him at Memphis, Paxton Lynch, Ferguson is getting looked at by professional teams. Playing in the AAC has its benefits, and praying on some weak defenses is one of those perks. The best defense he’s faced this year was UCF and he didn’t do so well against the Knights. When I look at an NFL prospect playing in smaller conferences, I like to look at the best defenses they’ve played, and Ferguson didn’t measure up. Quarterbacks all have their bad days, and maybe it was just a bad day for him.
While Ferguson struggled against UCF, he’s been lighting up weaker defensive units. He also needs to bring up his completion percentage. Memphis are great at finding the big play, but Ferguson needs to become more of a complete quarterback. He is completing just 59.7% of his passes. Ideally, he’d like to be somewhere in the mid 60%’s. The NFL aren’t going to think highly of a quarterback who is under 60% passing in the AAC. The good thing is, it appears Ferguson has been getting better as the year progresses.
After passing for just 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions against UCF, Ferguson has gone wild with 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in four games. He is coming off a 5 touchdown effort over Tulane this past week, 3 passing and 2 rushing on the ground. In total, he’s passed for 23 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
Darrell Henderson also had a nice game on the ground, rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown. It brings his yard per rush to 8.1 in 2017. I believe that Henderson should be getting more opportunities to carry the ball, as he’s only getting around ten attempts per game this season. Give him more chances to even this offense out a bit, which would open things up for Ferguson more so. Ferguson and Memphis will get another look at a bad defense this week, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
Memphis Tigers vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Betting Odds:
vs. Tulsa +12(-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Memphis vs. Tulsa Pick:
Tulsa, for the better part of this season, look like they’ve been playing down a man on defense. They rank last in the FBS in yards allowed per game with 7.56 yards allowed per game. Additionally, they have allowed more plays of 50 yards or more than any other defense. That isn’t what you want to have in your arsenal against a Memphis offense who can light it up with big plays downfield. Overall, Tulsa are near the back in yards allowed per game as well, allowing 550 yards per game. That is next to last, with UConn the only team behind them in that regard. They are also allowing 38 points per game.
If Tulsa can do anything right, it’s running the ball effectively. They have a strong offensive line that opens up holes. D’Angelo Brown will eclipse the 1,000 yard mark after this one, as he has already hit 980 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Golden Hurricane rank 12th in the nation, averaging 260.2 yards rushing. They haven’t gotten stellar quarterback play between Luke Skipper and Chad President, but they’ve luckily have a stellar running game to lean on.
It could be a favorable matchup for Tulsa in this spot. Memphis are 105th in the FBS with 201.4 yards allowed per game. That equates to a porous defensive unit. This could allow Skipper to finally open it up and find spots downfield. The Tigers are going to line up and beg Skipper to pass the ball. I don’t know if they’re going to find success defending much, but they’re offense will rack it up on the Tulsa defense. Memphis are averaging 42.5 points per game, and 500 yards for 11th in the FBS. There was an average of 98.5 scored between Memphis and Tulsa in their last two meetings. It should be more of the same on Friday night. It’s a high total, but the OVER looks like a solid pick.
PICK: OVER 78.5 (-110)