MONROE, La. – No. 23 Memphis looks to keep its perfect record intact when it steps outside of conference play to visit Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. The Tigers are coming off a 35-23 victory over Navy last weekend, while the Warhawks won their Sun Belt Conference opener on Saturday by topping South Alabama 30-17.
TV: 3:45 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: Memphis -14.5
The Tigers have been getting the job done defensively against the pass, ranking No. 1 in the nation in passing yards allowed with 103 per game. Offensively, Memphis' passing attack also has been efficient, with Brady White completing 73.3 percent of his attempts for 914 yards and eight touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Kenneth Gainwell has emerged as one of the top rushers in the American Athletic Conference, with his 411 yards ranking second in the league heading into the weekend. Louisiana-Monroe has a ground game that is led by junior Josh Johnson, who leads the Sun Belt and ranks eighth in the country with 119.8 yards per contest.
ABOUT MEMPHIS (4-0)
Junior wide receiver Damonte Coxie is in the top 10 in the American Athletic Conference in both receptions per game (4.5) and receiving yards per contest (69.5), but Memphis' most dynamic receiver may be senior Antonio Gibson. In his first season with the Tigers in 2018, Gibson made six catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns, but he's already matched or surpassed those numbers this year. Through four games, Gibson has six receptions for 186 yards and three scores - including last week's career-best 105 receiving yards that included a 73-yard TD catch, as well as 88 kick-return yards.
ABOUT LOUISIANA-MONROE (2-2)
The Warhawks are averaging 211.3 rushing yards, but things may slow down a bit as the offensive line adjusts to the loss of right guard T.J. Fiailoa, who suffered a season-ending broken leg in the win over South Alabama. Redshirt freshman Conner Parsons took over for Fiailoa against the Jaguars, but left guard Brandon Jones also had to sit for a bit in the game, forcing offensive line coach Eman Naghavi to do even more juggling. Parsons is expected to be the long-term solution at right guard, but any more injuries really could hurt the Warhawks' ground game.
1. Memphis DB Gabriel Rogers returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Navy - the program's ninth over the last four seasons, which is the most nationally in that span.
2. Louisiana-Monroe QB Caleb Evans is third in the Sun Belt Conference in both passing yards (221.5) and total offense (265) per game.
3. The Tigers are tied for 13th in the nation in first downs allowed, yielding just 61 through four contests.
PREDICTION: Memphis 35, Louisiana-Monroe 17