Memphis Tigers Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

Memphis Tigers Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Memphis season with what you need to know and keys to the season.


Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

Memphis Tigers Preview
Head Coach: Ryan Silverfield
3rd year at Memphis, 14-10
2021 Preview: Overall: 6-6, Conference: 3-5
Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Memphis Top 10 Players | Memphis Schedule

Memphis Tigers Preview 2022

It’s not like it wouldn’t have been nice to get the call.

Cincinnati just won the AAC title for a second year in a row. It’s off to the Big 12, likely in 2023.

UCF has an AAC powerhouse for years. It’s off to the Big 12, likely in 2023.

Houston won an AAC title back in 2015, and that’s it. Memphis has won two of them. Houston is off to the Big 12, likely in 2023, and Memphis is still sticking around the old league even though it makes sense geographically, it’s a Tier 1 academic institution, has a decent media market, good enrollment, and …

It stinks, but now Memphis has to make the best of it by positioning itself as the star of the conference that’s going to soon effectively be a heavier version of Conference USA.

Last year’s team went 6-6 in the rebuild with four close losses that easily could’ve gone the other way. The 2022 version is full of veterans on offense, should be strong in the defensive backfield, and overall should be just a wee bit motivated.

Memphis Tigers Preview 2022: Offense

The offense that made its living on home run hitting plays was able to get things going through the air, but the normally devastating running game didn’t go anywhere.

It finished 10th in the AAC even though the line was okay and the offense as a whole finished third in the conference. New offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey knows how to get a ground game going, and that means …

The backs need more work. Brandon Thomas ran well averaging close to six yards per carry with a team-high 669 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman, and he’s not alone. The Tigers have plenty of good backs in the rotation, and they’re piling on with Jevyon Ducker coming in from Northern Illinois.

The O line doesn’t have a ton of stars, but it gets back three starters with the tackles set, Jacob Likes a veteran center, and with Ira Henry coming in from Florida State.

No one seemed to notices with all the Cincinnati drama, but Memphis QB Seth Henigan had a terrific freshman season throwing for over 3,300 yards and 25 touchdowns. He’s not going to run much, and he needs to be a bit more accurate, but he’ll push the ball down the field.

The receiving corps loses its two stars in Calvin Austin and TE Sean Dykes. The next three top targets are back – led by union Javon Ivory – and Joseph Scates is coming in from Iowa State.

Memphis Tigers Preview 2022: Defense

Defense was a mere suggestion at Memphis for years, and it didn’t do enough last year, either. It wasn’t totally miserable, but it allowed over 418 yards and 29 points per game, the secondary got ripped up, and few defenses in America were worse on third downs.

It’s not up to former Ohio State assistant Matt Barnes to figure it all out. He loses a slew of key tacklers, but the secondary should be better if he can generate a pass rush.

The line goes back the five sacks of leading pass rusher Jaylon Allen, but this isn’t a deep group and it needs the bulk on the inside. It’s more about the quickness than the 300+ pound Coke machine inside, but that all has to translate into more plays behind the line.

The 123 stops of leading tackler JJ Russell are gone, but Xavier Cullens is back in the middle and getting Geoffrey Cantin-Arku from Syracuse on the outside helps.

The secondary needs its experience to translate into more production. There are tacklers – safety Quindell Johnson is going to be an All-AAC performer – but the big plays need to come from the corners. The DBs only generated seven interceptions.

Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Memphis Top 10 Players | Memphis Schedule

Memphis Tigers: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT

Memphis Tigers: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats

Memphis Tigers: Key To The 2022 Offense

Get the running game going again.

The 2018 Memphis offense ripped through everyone for close to 4,000 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns averaging over six yards per carry.

The 2019 team was a tad more balanced, but it won an AAC Championship and got to the New Year’s Six with over 2,600 yards and 32 scores. 2020 was 2020 – five of the team’s nine touchdown runs were in one game – but the attack was still good.

Last year? Memphis averaged under four yards per carry and got past 157 yards just one in the final ten games after getting off to a hot start.

Over the last three years, how good is Memphis when it hits 160 yards? 19-0.

Memphis Tigers: Key To The 2022 Defense

Occasionally come up with a third down stop.

As a frame of reference, the 2017 defense was a total disaster. The team went 10-3, but the D did absolutely nothing on third done, allowing teams to convert 46% of the time.

Last year? The Memphis defense got hit for third down conversions 48% of the time. Only two times did it allow under 40%, which was just part of the reason why the offense had the ball for just 26:39 a game.

Memphis Tigers: Key Player To The 2022 Season

WR Javon Ivory, Jr.
The 6-2, 180-pound veteran was third on the team with 29 catches for 413 yards and three touchdowns last season.

He’s got good size and nice deep speed, and now he has to try being one of the parts who make up for the loss of 74-catch star and current Pittsburgh Steeler Calvin Austin. Between Austin and TE Sean Dykes, 15 of the top 26 touchdown catches have to be replaced.

Memphis Tigers: Key Transfer

LB Geoff Cantin-Arku. Jr.
The more disruptive parts in the linebacking corps, the better.

The 6-4, 220-pound Cantin-Arku comes in from Syracuse after making 104 tackles with five sacks and 11 tackles for loss over the last two seasons.

He’ll slide on into the job on the weakside and should be among the team’s top statistical stars.

Memphis Key Game To The 2022 Season

Houston, Oct. 7
Memphis won five straight over Houston before getting dropkicked 31-13 in last year’s meeting on the road.

The UCF game comes later after a week off to rest up, and there’s no Cincinnati on the schedule, so take care of Houston first on Friday night, and the season gets interesting fast.

Memphis Tigers: 2021 Fun Stats

– Opponent 3rd Quarter Scoring: 56 – 4th Quarter: 118
– Time of Possession: Opponents 33:13 – Memphis 26:39
– 4th Down Conversion: Opponent 17-26 (65%) – Memphis 22-38 (58%)

Offense, Defense Breakdown
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Memphis Top 10 Players | Memphis Schedule

Memphis Tigers Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT

Memphis Tigers Season Prediction, What Will Happen

Memphis has to get its groove back.

The program was sputtering along, and then in 2012 Justin Fuente put the wheels in motion to start turning things around. In came Mike Norvell, and boom – Memphis had one of the fastest teams with one of the most dangerous offenses in college football.

Ryan Silverfield had a strong 2020 after he took over, and everything looked like it was rolling right along with a 3-0 start to 2021 with a win over Mississippi State.

And then the Tigers went 3-6 the rest of the way.

The offense has too many good parts and too many veterans to not be better, but there are way too many 50/50 games on the slate.

Set The Memphis Tigers Regular Season Win Total At … 7.5

Memphis doesn’t have to play Cincinnati, it gets UCF and Houston at home, and the road game at Mississippi State is the opener before anyone gets a chance to jell.

There are enough winnable games to not sweat a bowl game or a winning season, but at Navy, at East Carolina, at Tulane, Tulsa, and at SMU are all going to be tougher than it seems. The Tigers will win most of those, but there will be a loss in there, maybe two, and UCF and Houston really might be that good.

Eight wins would be a bounceback year, but after all the recent success, with this schedule and all the offensive experience, the American Athletic Conference title appearance isn’t asking for the world.

Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Memphis Top 10 Players | Memphis Schedule

2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams

Story originally appeared on College Football News