Next Day Takeaways: Green Wave shutters Memphis offense

By Updated: September 29, 2018 11:50 AM CT | Published: September 29, 2018 11:50 AM CT

Memphis fell to the Tulane Green Wave 40-24 Friday night in a game where the Tigers were favored by two touchdowns. Head coach Mike Norvell said the performance didn’t look like the product he has gotten used to the Tigers putting on the football field.  

Struggling Offense Can’t Find A Groove 

Quarterback Brady White completed only 14 of 30 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns in the Friday loss. He was forced out of the pocket by a Green Wave defense that sacked the quarterback seven times.  

The lack of big plays in the passing game hindered the Tigers (3-2, 0-2 American Athletic Conference). Darrell Henderson’s twisting touchdown catch early in the third quarter was the lone pass play over 40 yards. White targeted Damonte Coxie 11 times for only five catches in the loss.  

Norvell’s offense struggled to sustain long drives or strike quickly. The offense only produced one drive longer than 4 minutes and otherwise only had four drives over 2 minutes. Six of the Tigers 11 drives lasted less than five plays and ended in punts or turnovers.  

Tulane’s defense stacked the box and took away the run. If you ignore White’s rushing stats, 11 rushes for -26 yards, the Tigers only rushed 10 times for 57 yards and that included Henderson’s 47-yard touchdown. Otherwise, the Tigers had nine running plays for 10 yards.  

A week after carrying the ball a career-high 22 times in the win over South Alabama, Henderson only ran seven times for 51 yards. The Tigers did not run the ball the last five drives of the game – choosing to throw the ball to try and make up the deficit.  

Struggling Run Defense 

Head coach Willie Fritz’s spread option attack ran all over the Memphis defense which had been solid against the run so far this season. Tulane (2-3, 1-0) threw 22 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown, but ran 56 times for 318 yards and four touchdowns.  

Defensive coordinator Chris Ball’s defense was somewhat shorthanded at outside linebacker and in the secondary. Three Green Wave rushers averaged over 7 yards per carry against the Memphis defense. Both Darius Bradwell and Corey Dauphine scored two touchdowns each.  

Linebackers struggled to tackle running backs and Green Wave quarterback Jonathan Banks broke free on several critical downs. The defensive line could not get off their blocks to get Banks down in the backfield. Linebacker Bryce Huff and defensive lineman Joseph Dorceus were the only Tigers with sacks or tackles for loss.  

Conference Race Gets Harder 

The loss sets the Tigers back in the conference race. Their two conference losses are the most of any team in the American Athletic Conference. 

Memphis is going to need a lot of help to make it to the AAC Conference Championship this year. SMU gave the Tigers a boost by beating Navy earlier this season, but there is no room for any more losses. Houston appears to be the team to beat this season at 3-1 overall with their only loss coming at the hands of Texas Tech.  

Last season the Tigers ran away with the division leading to their matchup with the UCF Knights in the conference championship game. Their only conference loss last season was at UCF. 



Memphis Tigers football Tulane American Athletic Conference Mike Norvell Darrell Henderson
Jonah Jordan

Jonah Jordan

Jonah Jordan was born and raised in Memphis, graduated from the University of Memphis and has covered the Memphis Tigers for three years. When he's not writing, he enjoys golfing and eating barbecue.

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