AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Iowa State (7-5) vs. Memphis (10-2)
Date: Saturday, December 30th
Game Time: 12:30 pm
Venue: Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN
This is one of my favorite matchups of the bowl season as Iowa State, with over half of their games decided by less than a touchdown, takes on Memphis, who loves to get in shoot-outs. Neither team has long outstanding Bowl histories, which makes this game very important to both teams. As an added bonus, there will likely be a wild home crowd in Memphis.
Can Iowa State score enough to keep up with Memphis?
Yes they can. Memphis has been terrible this year in the defensive backfield, giving up almost 300 passing yards a a game. Making things more difficult are great wide receivers on the Cyclones. Allen Lazard is a special talent who provided a big spark when he chose to come back for his final year. He’s a playmaker. Hakeem Butler, Trever Ryan and Marchie Murdock can each disrupt defenses and quarterback Kyle Kempt is good enough to get all of these guys the ball, especially against a sub-par Tiger secondary.
Can Memphis force the Cyclones into turning the ball over?
Memphis has been amazing at forcing turnovers all year, but in the Cyclones, they will find a team that has not lost a fumble all year and a quarterback who has thrown just two interceptions in his last four games.
Riley Ferguson to Anthony Miller
The Memphis passing game has been amazing all year and a man that people underrate is wide receiver Anthony Miller, who is as good and productive as any receiver in the nation. The senior caught 92 passes for 1,407 yards and 17 scores, coming up with 100 yards in each of his last three games, and torching UCLA for nine catches for 185 yards and two scores. Miller will wreak havoc on the Cyclones secondary.
By the way, Memphis can run the ball also
If you worry too much about Ferguson and Miller, be prepared to get gashed by Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor, who combined for almost 2,000 yards with 22 touchdowns. They can jump up and bite you when you least expect it.
Prediction: Memphis is at home in one of the biggest, if not the biggest game, in school history. Add to that an explosive offense, both on the ground and in the air, and the Tigers will be too much for a very good Iowa State team.
Tigers 44 Cyclones 37
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