MEMPHIS, Tenn — The Memphis Tigers are preparing to hit the road to face Tulsa, Saturday, October 9. However, after losing two games in a row for the first time in five years, there are some concerns. If the Tigers cant fix the issues on both sides of the ball the Tulsa match-up may end differently than the one-point 42-41 win they had over the Golden Hurricane the last time they met up in 2019.
“(For the) Second week in a row we’ve found a way to beat ourselves,” said offensive coordinator Kevin Johns.
Both weeks, crucial fumbles were a big part.
And now the offensive coordinator is questioning the Tigers' ability to keep Brandon Thomas, one of their best yet youngest running backs, out on the field.
“He’s one of the best players we have on offense so, it doesn’t do us any good to have him on the sidelines we need that kid out there playing and making plays for us but he’s got to find a way to hang on to the ball, we cant play you if you’re going to fumble the ball,” said Johns.
But it’s not just Thomas, in five games the Tigers have had 8 fumbles.
4 of those fumbles were crucial, ultimately leading to the two losses for the Tigers who head to Tulsa with a 3-2 overall record 0-1 in the conference.
And the team's offensive struggles only make the defensive struggles worse.
“There’s this huge statistic, you play more than 70 plays on defense you’re drastically going to go down,” said defensive coordinator Mike McIntyre.
The Tigers are allowing 465 yards and nearly 38 points per game, 343 of those yards in the air, with the veteran defense having some trouble rushing the passer and stopping the passing attack.
“We’ve played the second-most plays than any team in the country and we also have had the ball thrown on us more than any team in the country,” said McIntyre.
Despite the Tigers’ self-inflicted wounds, the team said all they need is a little more focus and to finish how they start.
With Tulsa 1-4 on the season, they will likely enter this game with a must-win mindset, much like the Tigers.
However, Memphis is looking to add to their winning record in the Tulsa series that now stands at 19 wins for Memphis and just 11 for Tulsa.
“Yeah it was close two years ago but like I said our biggest thing is we just have to finish strong and keep our energy up. I feel like we’re really unbeatable if we just do those two things and the ball security is another one,” said running back Rodrigues Clark.