Memphis beat Houston in a 48-44 thriller. What does it all mean?
Memphis 48, Houston 44: What Does It All Mean?
Tom Herman’s horrible job interview
With rumors and reports of Tom Herman all but set at LSU, and with Texas claiming that it’s not out of the picture, Herman picked the wrong time for his team to come out and lay an egg – at least in the first half. As great as the second half performance was, the lifeless first 30 minutes aren’t going to get LSU or Texas fans all that fired up. And now Houston will finish tied for second in its division with a 9-3 record. That’s not getting it done for a head coach who’s this hot.
Oh yeah, Memphis
While the world is all over Herman, this might have been the first big step in making Mike Norvell the next big thing head coach. Justin Fuente got Virginia Tech to the ACC Championship in its first year. Just 35 years old, he might need some more seasoning, but in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, and after losing a first round draft pick quarterback in Paxton Lynch, he’s gone 8-4, is taking his team to a bowl, and despite the four losses, they’re not-that-bad to Ole Miss, Navy, Tulsa and USF. And now he beat Houston. Give it another two years, but with everyone watching, his team showed up.
Greg Ward Jr. did his part
One of the toughest ballers in all of college football, Ward did what he could to try saving the Cougars. He was fiery from the start, trying to wake the team on and get it rolling, but it was too late. He finished completing 47-of-67 passes for 487 yards and four scores with a pick, and ran for 65 yards and 16 scores. Unfortunately for him – and WR Linell Bonner, who caught 17 passes for 235 yards and a score – the D didn’t do its part, or else he would’ve been the big story in a brilliant final regular season game.
The Memphis offense was pretty good, too
Ward and Bonner were amazing, but the entire Memphis attack did its part. Anthony Miller was unstoppable with 169 yards and two scores on 15 catches, and Phil Mayhue hit the deep play with 142 yards and two touchdowns on six grabs, all because of the brilliance of Riley Ferguson, who completed 30-of-45 passes for 409 yards and four scores. The week after Louisville couldn’t seem to do anything right against the Houston defense, Memphis rolled up 555 yards including a game-winning drive with all the momentum on the other side.
Paging the Houston defensive line
A week after the Cougars spent a night tap dancing on Lamar Jackson’s head – coming up with 11 sacks and 12 tackles for loss – they generated a grand total of one sack and one other tackle for loss. Not having Ed Oliver mattered, but not that much. This wasn’t the same effort – duh – compared to the spotlight game against Louisville, and Memphis took advantage. The Cougars didn’t pick it back up enough in the final moments after stepping up in the third quarter. While it doesn’t matter in the overall bowl picture, the fire just wasn’t there early on.