By Zach Walker
BYU Cougars vs. Memphis Tigers
Monday – December 22 – 1:00 pm
Marlins Park – Miami
A look back at their seasons:
BYU Cougars (8-4, No Conference Record)
The BYU Cougars are a streaky team with a cool look back at their season, won their first four games, in the second game, the Cougars dismantled the Texas Longhorns, in their most convincing win of their season. Then they took a four game step back, losing four in a row, allowing at least 31 points per game. And finished the season off with another four game win streak.
Memphis Tigers (9-3, 7-1 in American)
Memphis took the UCLA Bruins for a dangerous ride in the second week of the season, but ended up losing by a touchdown. And after the loss, it set a trend of following wins with a loss. A trip to Dallas to play the SMU Mustangs, the Tigers railed off six straight conference wins to finish the season as the co-champion of the American Athletic conference.
Players to watch out for:
The Cougars running game – The Cougars have five rushers with at least 245 yards net rushing. Jaamal Williams (518 yards/4TDs), Paul Lasike has only 4 yards going backward, the quarterback, Christian Stewart has four touchdowns of his own.
LB Bronson Kaufusi – Big man, at six foot seven, 265 pounds, he has made his presence known. 10.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks.
QB Paxton Lynch – Lynch is a savvy quarterback, knowing when to run, and when to throw. 18 touchdowns to 6 interceptions, and is completing 64 percent of his passes. He’s great at not honing in a single receiver during games and spreading the ball across multiple receivers, five receivers with 25 or more catches, and four of those players have at least 300 receiving yards. And rushing the ball, he has 10 touchdowns.
The Tigers defense – Last time I saw Tank Jakes, he got ejected for targeting, but he’s an undersized linebacker that plays way out of his weight class. 15.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and an interception. Martin Ifedi, is strong pass rusher, but he had a knee injury that kept him down early in the season, but finished with 9.5 sacks and 2.5 sacks. The Tigers have three defensive backs with three picks. In the first half of games, the Tigers have outscored teams 238 to 110, and if the Tigers get the early lead, the Cougars are going to have a task ahead of them getting back in the football game.
Prediction: BYU 14 – Memphis 27
The Memphis Tigers defense is not a soft unit, or a unit that really gets exposed, this is a defense that shuts teams down. Look for Memphis to be on top at the end of this year’s Miami Beach Bowl game.