The Memphis Tigers are off to another solid start for their college football season. After coming off a 56-14 victory over Bethune Cookman, they look to continue winning against their rival Arkansas State. The two programs meet in the annual Paint Bucket Bowl in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Currently, Memphis holds a 32-24-5 series lead over the Red Wolves.
Recently, the Tigers have won the previous four matchups over the Red Wolves. The last two matchups have gone down to the wire, with Memphis winning 44-32 in 2022 and 55-50 in 2021. But will the winning streak remain that way after this Saturday? While the Tigers celebrated a 56-14 win in their season opener, the Red Wolves were soundly defeated 73-0 by the Oklahoma Sooners. Their defense surrendered 1,052 yards of offense to the Sooners in last Saturday’s 73-0 beatdown in Norman.
So, can the Tigers achieve the same type of success on offense that the Sooners reached against the Red Wolves? It’s highly possible, but I believe that Arkansas State head coach Butch Jones will have his squad motivated to recover from last week’s embarrassing defeat. There’s also the factor of playing against talent on equal footing, such as Memphis, which could provide a glimmer of hope this Saturday.
For Memphis to leave Jonesboro with a 2-0 record, they need to attack the Red Wolves’ defense where they believe they can achieve the most success. In Oklahoma’s blowout win over Arkansas State, they defeated them on the ground and through the air. However, Memphis must carefully consider that the Red Wolves have diligently worked to correct the mistakes made in Week 1 against the Sooners. The Tigers will attack the Red Wolves’ defense based on what they have observed in the footage of last week’s blowout in Norman.
Expect Memphis to utilize their running attack like we saw in last week’s win over Bethune Cookman. The Tigers rushed for 208 yards in last week’s victory. Also, Memphis finally had a 100-yard rusher when Sutton Smith ran for 115. If you recall, the last time that Memphis had a 100-yard rusher before Smith ended the streak was in Jonesboro when Brandon Thomas racked up over 190 in the 2021 matchup.
As for the Tigers’ defense, they must attempt to replicate what they accomplished last week against Bethune Cookman as much as possible against Arkansas State. The unit held the Wildcats to 130 yards of total offense. I expect Memphis to refrain from attacking the Red Wolves in multiple areas as the Sooners did in Week 1, but instead, they will find one weak spot and capitalize until the clock hits zero. The Tigers will not drop 70 points on Arkansas State, but the score will be close to it. Memphis will be 2-0 when this contest is over.
Memphis 45, Arkansas State 21
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