Memphis attempts to rebound from a tough loss at Navy when they host Georgia State from the Sun Belt on Saturday night. The Tigers could not hold a 21-9 to the Mids and fell 22-21 from rainy Annapolis. The Panthers were rolled at NC State, 41-7 to fall to 1-1 on the season. This is the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
At least the Panthers scored first against NC State
Georgia State opened their game last week against NC State with Destin Coates’ 8-yard touchdown run to lead 7-0. That was it for the Panthers, who were shut down the rest of the way and allowed 41 unanswered points. Coates had just six carries for 43 yards, while quarterback Dan Ellington ran for 30 yards on 10 attempts and threw for 194 yards. Ellington was a junior college All-American who came to Atlanta with a lot of hype. The junior threw for 187 yards in his first game against Kennesaw State in the opener, which resulted in a 24-20 win over the FCS foe.
While the offense did very little after the first drive, the pass defense was dominated by the Wolfpack, who threw for 426 yards. That’s an issue because the Panthers allowed Kennesaw State to throw for 201 yards on 12-of-19 passing in the opener. The defense was solid last season overall, as they allowed just 387.7 yards per game (4th in Sun Belt). However, they gave up 251.4 passing yards to rank eighth in the league and that appears to be an issue again this year. They return just one starter in the secondary so that could be a concern early in the season, especially against a high-powered team like Memphis.
Memphis falls hard in rain despite Henderson’s heroics
Memphis had a cakewalk in their 66-14 opener against FCS Mercer at home. So when they took on Navy on the road last week, they were hoping to catch the Mids at the right time in their first AAC game. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they couldn’t hold on to a 21-9 lead and fell on a Zach Abbey run with 2:37 left in the game. Before that, running back Darrell Henderson put the Tigers in position to win this game with three touchdown runs, including a 78-yard and a 59-yard run in the third quarter.
Henderson finished with 212 yards on just 13 carries, while junior quarterback Brady White completed 15 of 25 for 145 yards with one pick. But ultimately, the rain and turnovers hampered Memphis in Annapolis. The conditions probably contributed to the Tigers turning the ball over four times, including three fumbles. One fumble by Patrick Taylor came after they took a 21-9 lead and got the ball back, which started the downward spiral.
Defensively, they played well until late in the game, giving up 264 yards rushing on 73 carries (3.6ypc). But the Tigers defense probably had issues with fatigue since they were on the field for nearly 43 minutes. Last season, that defense ranked 117th in the nation in yards allowed (466.2ypg) and 122nd against the pass (282.1ypg). That pass defense wasn’t needed against Navy’s triple-option but will be more important against the Panthers.
- 2-5 ATS last 7 non-conference games.
- 12-5 Over last 17 overall.
- 20-8 Over last 28 home games.
Georgia State is:
- 22-9 ATS last 31 road games.
- 12-4 ATS last 16 after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Memphis has a big-play offense but you still have to wonder about their defense. They haven’t been tested in the air yet by Mercer or Navy’s triple option. That’s why it’s difficult to lay that many points. Georgia State won 7 games last year and competed in almost every game. Memphis had trouble covering games because they allowed 32.5 points per game.
Prediction: Georgia State +26
Full-Game Total Pick
The temperature is supposed to be in the eighties and without precipitation. So expect a lot of offense in this one without a steady downpour. Henderson can score a touchdown on every carry. He had nine last season and should easily have double-digits this year. Georgia State will score enough against a sub-par defense to put this over the top.
Half-Time Side Pick
Memphis should roll in this game but it will take some time to build that lead up. Georgia State has the capability of putting up points against a bad Memphis defense on a warm night. I have to take the points in the first half.
Prediction: Georgia State +18 first half
Half-Time Total Bet
This is going to be a high-scoring game but with the heat, I expect the defenses to get worn down in the second half. In the first half, this should be more of a mid-scoring battle. In other words, expect the first half to be something to the tune of 17-7.
Prediction: Under 34.5 first half
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Memphis has a quick strike offense that is led by Darrell Henderson. The Panthers can put up some points but defensively they will struggle with the speed of the Tigers. It’s a pretty easy bet to lay 7.5 in the first quarter with Memphis, who will put up huge chunk plays.
Prediction: Memphis -7.5 (-115) first quarter