Houston tried to rebound from a tough afternoon in Tulsa on a short week against AAC West favorite Memphis. A few keys to a Houston win.
Memphis is an explosive offense, Houston's offense, less so. The Tigers' offense is designed to pressure you and make you defend the entire field. They are a top 20 team in the FBS in plays of 20 yards or more, that translates to over 40 points a game. Houston's defense needs to force the Tigers to execute lengthy drives to score, no easy tickets.
In Houston's four wins they're plus-five in turnovers, in their two losses they're minus six. Kyle Postma, who was brought into the starting quarterback role to eliminate turnovers, has struggled to hang on to the ball. Houston's offense is struggling and handing back possessions isn't the cure. Houston needs to be ahead in the turnover battle to win Thursday night.
Meet Riley Ferguson
Houston is more than familiar with Ferguson, especially after 2016 when Ferguson put up 409 yards and four touchdowns in Tom Herman's last game in charge. Ferguson started slowly in 2017, but he's playing better recently, his completion percentage is up, and he continues to throw a lot of touchdown passes, he's third in the FBS with nineteen to just five picks. As he goes so goes the Memphis offense. Houston must make him uncomfortable and hope he reverts to his earlier accuracy issues.
D'Eriq King: Swiss Army Knife
D'Eriq King's recovery from injury has been a gift to Houston's offense. Major Applewhite let King compete for the quarterback job, and King may be Houston's best option at this point if he weren't so valuable on the field in other ways; the sophomore from Manvel is undersized but a fully weaponized triple threat. He can catch it, run it and throw it. Brian Johnson has worked hard to get King involved and in space. King's rewarded Johnson's efforts with three touchdowns, two receiving and one rushing.
Notes and Numbers
This is the 26th meeting between Memphis and Houston.
Houston holds a 15-10 advantage.
With their next win Memphis' senior class will be the winningest in Tiger history.
Former North Texas head man Darrell Dickey is the offensive coordinator for the Tigers.
Memphis is 5-2 in short week games.
Tiger quarterback Riley Ferguson and receiver Anthony Miller have combined for 22 touchdowns.
Houston's D'Juan Hines registered a career high with 20 tackles last week at Tulsa.
Houston's Ed Oliver has started 19 straight, every game, of his Houston career.
John LeDay is 11th in the FBS is kick off return average (28.0)