Site: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
Game time: 6 p.m. CST
Coaches: Larry Porter, Memphis (1-13 overall, second year at the U of M); Rick Christophel, Austin Peay (15-29 overall, fifth year at APSU) Series history: Memphis leads 6-0
Memphis will win if …
The safeties can avoid giving up the big play. The Tigers' defense has allowed an average of 628 yards per game this season, most of which have come on long runs or deep balls. U of M coach Larry Porter on Wednesday relieved Jay Hopson of his duties as defensive coordinator and promoted defensive line coach Mike DuBose and linebackers coach Galen Scott to co-coordinators. If DuBose and Scott can somewhat correct the secondary issues, the Tigers boast a much better chance of beating the Governors and, to some extent, salvaging their season.
Offensively, true freshman quarterback Taylor Reed must rebound from his particularly rough performance against Arkansas State last week. Granted, Reed wasn't given much help from his offensive line. Still, Reed will have to learn to get rid of the ball quicker in certain situations. Reed show glimpses of potential against Mississippi State two weeks ago; if he can rediscover his confidence, the Tigers should handle the Governors.
Austin Peay will win if …
The Governors' offensive line can keep the Tigers' defensive line from pressuring the quarterback. The U of M secondary has shown the last two week that it's clearly exploitable. If Austin Peay prevents Dontari Poe and Frank Trotter from entering its backfield, the Governors could have a legitimate upset bid.
TigerAuthority staff predictions
John Martin: 31-17, Memphis. The Tigers have never needed a win more than now. Yes, this is what rock bottom looks like. A game against the Division I-AA Governors couldn't have come at a better time. Look for Memphis to end its 11-game losing streak and for Porter to earn the second win of his career.
Emily Villere: 24-10, Memphis.