The Louisiana Monroe Warhawks will travel to Memphis on Thursday, August 31st, to take on the Memphis Tigers who look to improve on their successful 2016 campaign. The game kicks off inside the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium at 9 P.M. ET.
With an influx of talent during the offseason, the Warhawks look to assemble a roster that can compete against the bigger schools. This rag-tag roster gets their first opportunity in Memphis to show the Sun Belt conference, and other big school programs, that they are an improved bunch.
Memphis is heading into the 2017 season with plenty of returning firepower on offense. They aim to build off last season’s 8-5 record and hope to become a legit contender in the American Athletic Conference. To this point, many college football pundits are picking Memphis to win the AAC West division and ultimately fall to USF for the AAC conference crown.
The spread for this game opened up at 24.5 points, but has since moved to 27 points with Memphis heavily favored at home. The Over/Under has been holding firmly at 67 points.
Memphis possessed the #15 ranked offense last year, scoring almost 39 points per game and has all of their key contributors returning. Led by quarterback Riley Ferguson, the passing game is expected to set up their run game just like they did in 2016.
Last season, Riley threw for nearly 3,700 yards with 32 TDs and 10 INTs. His top target Anthony Miller will try to build off a stellar 2016 season that saw him tally 1,434 yards receiving and 14 TDs. If the passing game is as successful as last year, then running back Doroland Dorceus and his fellow rushers should benefit greatly.
In the first 3 games of 2016, Memphis averaged 52 points per game as they went 3-0 out of the gates. This was mostly against inferior talent, which is exactly what they will see on Thursday, August 31st, against the Warhawks. LA Monroe, who hasn’t had a winning season since 2012, is clearly outmatched in this game and has one of the worse defenses that Memphis will face all year.
The Warhawks gave up an average of 39 points per game in 2016 with 6 of their 8 losses being by 25 points or more. However, despite the odds being stacked against LA Monroe, they have sported some impressive numbers in covering the Over.
In 8 of the last 9 Lousiana Monroe games, the total has gone over. This includes the total going over during the team’s last 5 road games. Conversely, Memphis has seen the total go over in 8 of their last 11 games, including the last 5 home games. For the 2016 season, the total went over 8 of 10 Warhawk games and 7 of 10 Memphis games. One more nugget of data to chew on, the total has gone over in 6 out of the last 7 games that Memphis has played on Thursdays.
Look for Memphis to do most of the heavy lifting in this game’s point total, with LA Monroe contributing just enough to put the game’s final score over 67 points.