Marshall returns to the football field this weekend after a humbling, 54-17 loss to UCF. Saturday's opponent, Memphis, might be just what the doctor ordered for the ailing Herd. The Tigers have won a single game this year (Rice) and dropped a season opening contest against FCS member Tennessee-Martin.
Memphis struggles on both sides of the ball. On offense they are averaging an FBS worst 17.5 points per game. The Tigers are piloted by quarterback Jacob Karam. A Texas Tech transfer, Karam has passed for 1,146 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions. He has struggled recently, going three straight games without throwing a touchdown. During last weeks game against Southern Miss, Karam only completed eight of 17 attempts for 85 yards.
Karam's favorite targets are wide receivers Marcus Rucker and Keiwone Malone. They have accounted for 772 of Memphis's 1,170 receiving yards and five of the Tigers seven touchdowns through the air.
After starting running back Jerrell Rhodes left the team in September, junior Jai Steib emerged as the leading rusher, accumulation 241 yards on 67 carries and one touchdown. When he needs a breather, Steib is spelled by Brandon Hayes. Hayes had a season high 17 carries against UCF, rushing for 83 yards.
On defense, Martin Ifedi is trying his best to fill the large hole vacated by NFL first round draft pick Dontari Pope. So far he has done a pretty good job, registering a team high seven sacks and 33 tackles from his spot at defensive tackle.
Overall, Memphis struggles on defense allowing 251 passing and 170 rushing yards per game.Their leading tackler is linebacker Charles Harris who has recorded 58 stops. In the secondary, the Tigers have only registered three interceptions, two by safety Lonnie Ballentine.
For more on this weeks game, including quotes from both coaches, follow the links below.
Quotes from Doc Holliday's Oct. 30th Press Conference
Game Notes, Memphis
Quotes from Justin Fuente's Oct.29th Press Conference
Game Notes, Marshall