30ºF

Memphis football vs. Southern Illinois: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Tigers host Salukis at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis

Chauncey Lanier #12 of the Memphis Tigers gestures during the first half of the game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at FAU Stadium on December 20, 2016 in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Chauncey Lanier #12 of the Memphis Tigers gestures during the first half of the game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at FAU Stadium on December 20, 2016 in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis looks to build on its big win over then-nationally ranked UCLA when it hosts FCS school Southern Illinois in a Saturday-night matchup. The Tigers won a 48-45 shootout last Saturday with the Bruins 48-45 to improve to start 2-0 for the third straight season.

Quarterback Riley Ferguson has been garnering national headlines after his performance against the Bruins, when he threw for 398 yards and six touchdowns.

TV: 8 p.m. ET. ESPN3

 

(function(d, s, id) {var js,ijs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//embed.scribblelive.com/widgets/embed.js";ijs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ijs);}(document, 'script', 'scrbbl-js'));

The passing game of the Tigers is augmented by a running game that is powered by sophomore running backs Darrell Henderson (274 rushing yards) and Patrick Taylor Jr. (177) and has nearly half of the team’s offensive yards this season (495 passing-481 rushing).

What has been the down side so far for Memphis has been the defense, which allows 37 points and 371 passing yards per game.

The Salukis are 2-0 thanks to a balanced offense that is averaging 45 points and a defense that has allowed a total of 20 points on the season.

ABOUT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (2-0)

Defense has been the name of the game for the Salukis, as the team has gone from allowing 30.7 points and 433.1 yards per game in 2016 to 10 and 289, respectively, this season. Senior safety Ryan Neal was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week after recording an interception, recovering a fumble and tying for the team lead with eight tackles in a win over Southeast Missouri State last weekend. Southern Illinois ranks 12th in FCS in both total turnovers forced (7) and turnovers forced per game (3.5) -- something they’ll definitely need when facing the high-powered Memphis offense.

ABOUT MEMPHIS (2-0)

Turnovers have been a big part of the Tigers’ early success, with Memphis forcing seven in the first two contests. Coach Mike Norvell’s club finished fifth in the nation with 29 takeaways a year ago, and the opportunistic defense has forced two or more turnovers in nine of 15 games under the second-year coach. Linebacker Tim Hart returned his first career interception for a touchdown against UCLA, continuing a trend that saw the Tigers tie for 10th in the country with three interception returns for a score a year ago.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Henderson ranks second in the nation with his 10.5 yards per carry.

2. Five different players have caught the six touchdown passes thrown by Ferguson, with leading receiver Anthony Miller (11 catches, 208 yards) the only one with two.

3. Memphis TE Joey Magnifico tripled his career best in catches with six against UCLA and more than tripled his previous high in receiving yards with 83.

PREDICTION: Memphis 42, Southern Illinois 20