By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
The South Alabama Jaguars (1-1) continue their brutal non-conference schedule by hosting a potentially dangerous Memphis Tigers (2-0) team. This Tigers team made an early impression to the College Football nation when they beat the Ole Miss Rebels from the SEC with a 15-10 score. Jaguars head coach Steve Campbell and his team are not fazed by anything the Tigers have done. They are focused on getting their own team better on both sides of the ball.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Jaguars are looking to improve in overall efficiency where they are ranked 117th in the nation in overall efficiency (19.4). The Jaguars have a great rushing offense led by senior running back Tra Minter and right guard Roy Albritton. South Alabama has accounted for 496 rushing yards through the first two games of the season. So far this season, Minter has rushed for 226 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. He has accounted for 433 total all-purpose yards, which is the second-highest amount of all-purpose (non-passing) yards accounted for in the nation.
Minter and the Jaguars’ offense will go against a Tigers defense that has given up 248 rushing yards through two games. South Alabama is the most talented rushing offense Memphis has played so far this season. For South Alabama to be more efficient, they will need the rushing potential and the passing game from quarterback Cephus Johnson. The Jaguars have done well to limit their turnovers from week one to week two. Coach Campbell and offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield have made their pushed their offense to start off the game on a faster pace with their scoring and efficiency.
Through the first two games of the season, the Jaguars defense have played an RPO (run-pass-option) style of offense from Nebraska and Jackson State. This Saturday, the Jaguars will face a Memphis offense that strives on pounding the ball in the running game through speed and then balancing out a short and long passing game. So far this season, the Tigers have accounted for 934 total yards on offense with 570 coming from the passing game. Quarterback Brady White is line to be another high projected NFL level quarterback like Paxton Lynch was.
The Tigers’ offensive line has given up only three sacks in two games this season, but they have given up 17 tackles for loss. The defense for South Alabama can create havoc plays of tackles for loss through quick reads of the short passing game and in the run game. This will be a critical game for the secondary for the Jaguars including senior cornerback Jalen Thompson, who said on Tuesday that the defense will need to be alert from the very beginning of the play.
The Jaguars defensive line will need to dominate the line of scrimmage in order to stay in this game against a Memphis Tigers team that is a 19-point favorite. This game will not define the Jaguars in future games but they can make themselves a dangerous team once Sun Belt conference play starts in two weeks.