Tennessee Volunteers At Memphis Tigers: Game Preview And Stat Comparison

A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts, links to SB Nation game pages, and statistical comparisons.

CAVEATS: You know the drill. Also, this: all of the following information is gleaned exclusively from the NCAA statistics and does not account for things like injuries, shared playing time, and other stuff difficult to see in the stats from a bird's eye view. As always, this is a long post, so I've put the conclusions and predictions before and after the meat. You're not seeing double.

 

Sketchy Conclusions

  • In its only win of the season, 21 of Memphis's 24 points came on drives that started on the opponent's side of the field. Their loss to UTEP was by three points. Every other game has been a blowout.
  • The Tigers rank in the bottom fourth in every offensive category, in the bottom ten in two, and in the bottom 20 in four.
  • With the exception of tackles for loss, in which they're just barely above average, Memphis is in the bottom 20 in every defensive category and in the bottom six in four of them. They're dead last in pass efficiency defense. They're no better in special teams, although they do have a good punter.
  • The diamond in the rough is senior linebacker Jamon Hughes, who appears to be a very good player, as he ranks 2nd nationally in tackles per game.
  • Although Memphis is a bad team and Tennessee ranks better in almost every category, the Vols don't outrank them by much in any category with the possible exception of pass efficiency defense.

Predictions

  • Tennessee 38, Memphis 17.

Schedule and Animated Drive Charts

Memphis Logo
@ Mississippi St. Bulldogs 9/4/10 loss 7 - 49 coverage
@ East Carolina Pirates 9/11/10 loss 27 - 49 coverage
Middle Tenn. St. Blue Raiders 9/18/10 win 24 - 17 coverage
@ UTEP Miners 9/25/10 loss 13 - 16 coverage
Tulsa Golden Hurricane 10/2/10 loss 7 - 48 coverage
@ Louisville Cardinals 10/9/10 loss 0 - 56 coverage
Southern Miss. Golden Eagles 10/16/10 loss 19 - 41 coverage
Houston Cougars 10/30/10 loss 17 - 56 coverage

 

Tennessee and Memphis have had no common opponents this season. Just for flavor, though, here's the drive chart for the one game the Tigers have won so far:

FULL SCREEN VERSION

Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.

 

Even in that game, all three of Memphis's TD drives were on the short side of the field.

National Unit Rankings

Now on to the national rankings.

 

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
C-USA Leader Actual
Rushing Offense 103 106.50 Georgia Tech 317.38 11 Tulsa 219.25
Passing Offense 96 170.75 Hawaii 395.44 12 East Carolina 304.13
Total Offense 115 277.25 Oregon 572.88 12 Tulsa 480.00
Scoring Offense 117 14.25 Oregon 54.88 12 Houston 41.63
Passing Efficiency 92 117.75 Boise St. 188.15 11 Houston 149.17
Sacks Allowed 105 2.88 Marshall .25 12 Marshall .25

 

Offensive observations. My mother always told me that if I couldn't say anything nice, I shouldn't say anything at all, so . . . .

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
C-USA Leader Actual
Rushing Defense 100 195.13 Kent St. 65.88 12 Southern Miss. 100.88
Pass Efficiency Defense 120 171.00 Nebraska 89.36 12 UCF 108.49
Total Defense 119 472.88 TCU 217.33 12 UCF 279.88
Scoring Defense 118 41.50 TCU 8.67 12 UCF 16.50
Pass Defense 115 277.75 TCU 119.00 10 UCF 177.25
Sacks T-107 1.13 Florida St. 4.13 10 UCF 2.38
Tackles For Loss 53 6.00 Kent St. 9.25 5 UCF 7.63

 

Defensive observations. . . . Memphis is a little better than average in the tackles for loss category. . . .

SPECIAL TEAMS AND TURNOVERS RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
C-USA Leader Actual
Net Punting 44 37.42 Florida 43.82 4 Rice 40.57
Punt Returns 119 .86 Utah 21.14 12 UTEP 15.32
Kickoff Returns 109 18.92 Kansas St. 28.00 11 UCF 25.78
Turnover Margin T-112 -1.00 Oregon 1.63 11 Tulsa 1.00

 

Special teams and turnovers observations. . . . decent punter, too.

Stastical Comparison

Here's how the teams looked when the RTT BlogPoll Computery Thing chewed them up and spit them out.

R Team WL SOS PED RD 3DO TD PEO OPPG TO 3DD
90 Tennessee Logo 94 6 67 83 110 87 74 93 90 80
117 Memphis Logo 104 71 120 100 107 119 92 118 115 113

The good news: It's almost a clean sweep for the good guys. The bad news: Tennessee might be better in a lot of things, but it 's not a lot better in most things, and its third down offense is still really, really not good. Really.

Players to watch for

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
OFFENSE
Rushing Gregory Ray 87 62.12
Jerrell Rhodes 46.38
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) Ryan Williams 79 122.86
Total Offense Ryan Williams 132.75
Gregory Ray 62.12
Jerrell Rhodes 46.38
Receptions Per Game Marcus Rucker 2.88
Receiving Yards Per Game Marcus Rucker 51.50
Scoring Paulo Henriques 4.50
DEFENSE
Interceptions Todd Washington T-71 .33
Mohammed Seisay .25
Sacks Dasmine Cathey .38
Terrence Thomas .25
Jamon Hughes .25
Tackles Jamon Hughes 2 12.62
Marcus Ball 6.75
Frank Trotter 6.62
Tackles For Loss Frank Trotter T-43 1.25
Dasmine Cathey .75
DeRon Furr .69
SPECIAL TEAMS
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game) Tom Hornsey 38 42.71
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game)
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) D.A. Griffin 21.31
Billy Foster 19.00
Delmon Robinson 18.67
Field Goals Paulo Henriques T-61 1.00
All-Purpose Runners Gregory Ray 75.62


Observations

Offense. Only two Tigers make the national rankings: QB Ryan Williams, who's 79th in passing efficiency, and running back Gregory Ray, who's 87th in rushing with an average of 62.12 yards per game. Ray ran for 176 yards against Houston last week.

Defense. Hey, looky here. Senior linebacker Jamon Hughes is an absolute legit star, ranking second in the nation with 12.62 tackles per game. Also not shabby is defensive lineman Frank Trotter, who's tied for 43rd in the nation in tackles for loss. Freshman DB Todd Washington ranks nationally in interceptions, averaging one every three games.

Special teams. As we said before, the punter is pretty good, and his name is Tom Hornsey. The other foot is okay, too, as Paulo Henriques is tied for 61st in field goals.

Head to Head Comparisons

How'd we do with the head-to-head comparisons during South Carolina week? Not bad, actually.

  Prediction Result
UT rush 90 92
UT pass 280 312
South Carolina rush 150 212
South Carolina pass 240 223
UT score 20 24
South Carolina score 31 38

 

So let's see how we can do this week:

  Tennessee Logo Memphis Logo
Best Comparable(s)
Result Against Best Comp
Prediction
UT rush v. Memphis rush defense 117.63
(#96)
195.13
(#100)
UAB
(160.25)
(#74)
42 160
UT pass v. Memphis pass defense 213.63
(#65)
277.75
(#115)
South Carolina
(259.88)
(#105)
312 260
Memphis rush v. UT rush defense 167.88
(#83)
106.50
(#103)
Georgia
(150.67)
(#63)
136 100
Memphis pass v. UT pass defense 239.25
(#90)
170.75
(#96)
Florida/LSU
(190.88/138.75)
(#81/#113)
167/215 200
UT scoring offense v. Memphis scoring defense 21.75
(#93)

41.50
(#118)

UAB
(31.38)
(#95)
23/32
(regulation/OT)
38
Memphis scoring offense v. UT scoring defense 30.50
(#93)
14.25
(#117)
UAB
(25.38)
(#74)
23/29
(regulation/OT)
17

 

As always, these are informed guesses rather than mathematical calculations. The general analytical framework is this: We are averaging X in a certain category. The opponent averages Y against that, which is most closely comparable to some identified previous opponent, against whom we did Z. All of that leads to an informed guess labeled as Prediction. The less data you have, the more sketchy the guess, and the guesses range from ALL CAPS SKETCHY WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS at the beginning of the season to merely lower case sketchy for the last game.

This week's example: UT's rushing for an average of about 118 yards per game. Memphis is giving up 195 on the ground each game to its opponents. The previous UT opponent that most closely resembles Memphis in rush defense is UAB, although they're quite a bit better, allowing opponents only 160 yards. Against UAB, Tennessee rushed for only 42 yards. Yeah, I'm calling that a fluke -- Tauren Poole had only six carries that game, due to injury if I remember correctly, and anyway, UAB's still quite a bit better than Memphis, so I'm mostly tossing out the comp. Looking just at the Vols' average rushing and the Memphis average rushing defense, I'm guessing we'll get somewhere between the two, so 160, which seems a bit high considering we've been held under 50 yards three times and under 100 four times this year, but it's roughly what we got against Alabama. So yeah, 160.

Overall, I'm guessing UT will have 420 yards to the Tigers' 300 and will win roughly 38-17.

Sketchy Conclusions

  • In its only win of the season, 21 of Memphis's 24 points came on drives that started on the opponent's side of the field. Their loss to UTEP was by three points. Every other game has been a blowout.
  • The Tigers rank in the bottom fourth in every offensive category, in the bottom ten in two, and in the bottom 20 in four.
  • With the exception of tackles for loss, in which they're just barely above average, Memphis is in the bottom 20 in every defensive category and in the bottom six in four of them. They're dead last in pass efficiency defense. They're no better in special teams, although they do have a good punter.
  • The diamond in the rough is senior linebacker Jamon Hughes, who appears to be a very good player, as he ranks 2nd nationally in tackles per game.
  • Although Memphis is a bad team and Tennessee ranks better in almost every category, the Vols don't outrank them by much in any category with the possible exception of pass efficiency defense.

Predictions

  • Tennessee 38, Memphis 17.
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