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Memphis366015
Houston738725
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25


Memphis (1-3) vs. Houston (4-0)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 12, 12 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: BBVA Compass Stadium (22,039) -- Houston, Texas. Television: ESPN News. Home Record: Memphis 1-2, Houston 1-0. Away Record: Memphis 0-1, Houston 2-0. Neutral Record: Memphis 0-0, Houston 1-0. Conference Record: Memphis 0-1, Houston 1-0. Series Record: Houston leads, 11-9.

GAME NOTES: Coming off a bye week, the Houston Cougars will try to move to a perfect 5-0 when they battle former Conference USA rival Memphis in an American Athletic Conference showdown at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Memphis nearly pulled off an upset in its AAC opener against UCF but a costly fumble by Marquis Warford late in the fourth quarter led to the game-winning touchdown for the Knights in the 24-17 decision. The Tigers were 4-4 in league play a year ago while still a member of C-USA and are off to an 0-1 start this year.

As for Houston, the Cougars are in good company in the AAC. Other than No. 8 Louisville, Houston is the only squad in the league that has not suffered a loss. With wins in all four games the Cougars are 4-0 for just the eighth time in program history. Houston was on a bye last weekend but had won its first four games by an average of 23.5 points per game.

Although both of these teams were members of Conference USA a year ago they did not meet in the last two seasons. The last meeting came in 2010 when the Cougars rolled to a 56-17 victory to move to 11-9 in series play.

When you are a team averaging only 19.2 points per game, turnovers late in games can be devastating. That is certainly the case for Memphis, which is ranked seventh in the conference in scoring and total offense (372.2 ypg).

Paxton Lynch leads the offense from under center. Lynch had one of his better games against UCF when he threw for a season-high 279 yards. However, on the year, Lynch has struggled more often than not with just 773 yards and four interceptions to just two touchdown passes. Lynch has also been sacked 10 times.

The main weapons Lynch gets the ball to are receivers Tevin Jones and Joe Craig. Jones is the team-leader in receiving yards (170), while Craig is the leader in receptions (13) for 168 yards. Tight end Alan Cross (seven receptions, 53 yards, two TDs) doesn't get a ton of receptions but has been useful in the red zone.

In terms of running the ball, the Tigers are fortunate to have a pair of talented backs. Brandon Hayes is the workhorse with 307 yards and two scores on 60 carries. Hayes has been at his best in recent weeks with 187 yards and two scores in the last two weeks. Warford (251 yards, TD) is a fine backup.

Where there is hope for Memphis is on defense. The Tigers are holding foes to just 19 points and 319.8 yards per game, ranking in the top four in the conference in each category. Memphis has been particularly effective in getting to the quarterback, with 14 sacks, trailing only Louisville and Rutgers for the most in the conference.

Leading the way for the defense is Martin Ifedi (5.5 sacks), who is tied for the league lead in quarterback takedowns.

Houston is the top offensive team in the AAC to this point, averaging 534 yards per game, scoring a healthy 43.5 points per game.

Carrying the Cougars is quarterback John O'Korn. The freshman has done a solid job under center since replacing incumbent starter David Piland. O'Korn is completing 63.5 percent of his pass attempts for 933 yards and 10 touchdowns and has been intercepted only once. In the Cougars' last game, a 59-28 win over Texas-San Antonio, O'Korn threw for career-highs in touchdowns (four) and yards (312).

O'Korn has certainly been helped by the play of Deontay Greenberry, who has brought in 35 receptions for 530 yards and three touchdowns. Greenberry leads the conference in yards per game (132.5) for the Cougars, who have also gotten contributions from Daniel Spencer (17 receptions, 223 yards, three TDs) and Xavier Maxwell (15 receptions, 144 yards, two TDs).

Ryan Jackson is a versatile running back that works well in the Cougars' system with his ability to make plays in the passing game. Jackson has rushed for 384 yards and four touchdowns and also has 10 catches for 120 yards and two scores through the air.

On the defensive side of things, Houston shows some weaknesses. The Cougars are allowing just 20 points per game but teams are also picking up more than 400 yards per contest. While those numbers themselves aren't horrible, the Cougars have struggled to create pressure with just five sacks this season, while recording the fewest tackles for loss (16) in the conference. However, Houston has forced 14 turnovers in just four games.

This should be a real test of just how effective O'Korn can be as a signal caller. The Tigers' front seven, especially Ifedi, will give the freshman problems but Jackson's ability to run the ball will open up the field. If Houston can keep up the pace it prefers, the Tigers will fall behind early.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Houston 41, Memphis 27

10/09 10:39:31 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0
 
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
Final
BAL 7
BOS 2
Final
PIT 0
MIL 1
Final
TAM 3
CWS 1
Final
MIN 3
CLE 7
Final
ATL 2
NYM 4
Final
HOU 10
SEA 1
Final
MIA 2
WAS 3
Final
STL 8
CIN 4
Final
SDP 3
SFG 2
Final
ANA 8
TEX 5
1:05pm Today
NYY
TOR
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
1:35pm Today
BAL
BOS
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
ATL
NYM
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
CWS
 
2:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
DET
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
SEA
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
LOS
 
3:35pm Today
ANA
TEX
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
Final
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
Final
ILL 42
TXST 35
Final
WASH 45
GASTATE 14
Final
SMISS 21
APPST 20
Final
TOL 34
BST 23
Final
OHIO 36
IDAHO 24
Final
CIN 31
UMO 24
Final
MEM 36
MTST 17
Final
LSU 29
MSST 34
Final
ARK 52
NILL 14
Final
ARKST 21
UTST 14
Final
SALABAMA 6
GASO 28
Final
WVU 33
OKLA 45
Final
VANDY 34
SCAR 48
Final
NEB 41
MIAMI 31
Final
NMST 35
NMU 38
Final
HOU 47
UNLV 14
Final
FSU 23
CLEM 17
Final
ARZ 49
CAL 45
Final
ORST 28
SDST 7
Final
WASU 31
OREG 38
Final
BSU 34
LALAF 9
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
STL
 
8:00pm Tonight
EDM
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
1:00pm Today
CLE
BAL
1:00pm Today
STL
DAL
1:00pm Today
DET
GBP
1:00pm Today
NYG
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
IND
1:00pm Today
NOS
MIN
1:00pm Today
NEP
OAK
1:00pm Today
BUF
SDC
1:00pm Today
CIN
TEN
1:00pm Today
PHI
WAS
4:05pm Today
ARI
SFX
4:25pm Today
SEA
DEN
4:25pm Today
MIA
KAN
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0