MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis looks to become bowl eligible and win its second straight contest when it travels to face Tulsa in an American Athletic Conference contest Saturday. The Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 59-41 victory over East Carolina last week, while the Golden Hurricane earned their first win after seven straight losses with a 49-19 rout of Connecticut.
TV: Noon ET, ESPNU. LINE: Memphis -15.5
Memphis junior Darrell Henderson is having one of the best seasons for a running back in the country, ranking first in the nation in yards per carry (9.48) and tied for first in total touchdowns (18), and second in rushing yards (1,280). The attention that Henderson draws helps the Tigers' passing game as well with quarterback Brady White having thrown for 2,328 yards and 20 touchdowns. Tulsa had season highs of 638 total yards and 470 rushing yards against the Huskies, with Shamari Brooks (151) and Corey Taylor II (133) surpassing the 100-yard mark on the ground. Freshman quarterback Seth Boomer set a school record for a first-year player with four touchdown passes, though he threw only 14 times for 168 yards.
ABOUT TULSA (2-7, 1-4 AAC)
Boomer needs to work on staying healthy because the freshman doesn't have much backup after Luke Skipper, who started the first four games of the season, and Chad President, who played in five contests this season, were ruled out for the season this week. Skipper had back surgery Monday while President, who was hurt in the fourth quarter against Connecticut, had leg surgery to repair a broken fibula and retired from playing. Freshman Davis Brin played the rest of the fourth quarter against Connecticut and will be Boomer's backup going forward, though he has yet to attempt a collegiate pass.
ABOUT MEMPHIS (5-4, 2-3)
Despite the win over East Carolina, Memphis coach Mike Norvell was not happy with his defense, which allowed the Pirates to rack up a season-high 556 yards and tie its season's best with 41 points. It's the third time in three seasons that the Tigers' defense has allowed more than 500 yards in consecutive games, and opponents are averaging 41.6 points and 497.2 yards over the last five contests. Norvell doesn't seem to have a quick fix in mind, though, saying his team needs to continue to practice and work on getting on the same page defensively.
1. Tulsa S McKinley Whitfield, the team's third-leading tackler (58), will sit out the first half of this contest because of a targeting penalty he received against Connecticut.
2. Memphis WR Damonte Coxie set career marks with 10 catches for 176 yards against East Carolina.
3. The Tigers are close to breaking the school record for rushing touchdowns in a season as they have 31, two shy of the mark set in 1961 and 2017.
PREDICTION: Memphis 52, Tulsa 27
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