Previewing the Servpro First Responder Bowl: Memphis vs. Utah State
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This is the preview for the Servpro First Responder Bowl
Date: Tuesday, December 27, 3:15 p.m. ET
Gerald J. Ford Stadium (Dallas, TX)
Betting splits: 71% of handle, 56% of bets on Memphis -7.5
Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan has been having himself quite the year, passing for over 3,200 yards with 19 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Plus, Henigan has the most rush attempts on his team (135), so it’s clear he can attack you both ways. And he has no shortage of weapons to choose from, considering the Tigers had three different receivers that accumulated over 500 receiving yards this season. Memphis is one of only three teams in the nation to score at least 23 points in each game this year. The Tigers will seek to keep that streak going against a Utah State defense that has allowed over 30 points to opponents per game this season and, more recently, in the last three games that number has risen to over 35.
The Aggies have dealt with some adversity this season, overcoming the loss of their star quarterback Logan Bonner, and battling back from a 1-4 start to the year. Junior QB Cooper Legas stepped up and helped his team in win five of their final seven games. Legas has seemingly improved over the course of the year as over his last three games, he has averaged over 260 passing yards. Legas will get an opportunity to add to that when he faces a Memphis pass defense that ranks 98th by allowing over 250 pass yards per game. The Tigers' defense as a whole is quite volatile. They are allowing over 27 points per game and, yet, Memphis has also held four different opponents to under 15 points. The real concern for the Tigers' defense is if they can contain Utah State’s running back Calvin Tyler Jr. Tyler has rushed for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Memphis, however, ranks 26th against the run by limiting opponents to just 122 rushing yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry (T-8th fewest). Money has shown for the Aggies pushing them from nine-and-a-half point underdogs to seven-and-a-half. Also, the total has dipped from 62.5 to 60.5. —Danny Burke
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