MEMPHIS, Tenn. –Both SMU and Memphis sit first and second in offenses in the AAC.
But in order to get a shot at the conference title game, the Tigers must take care of business against the Mustangs.
” They’re a team that doesn’t like to make many mistakes. They let their opponents make the mistakes and they capitalize off them. So I really feel like this game will be won by the team that executes the most,” said Memphis safety Simeon Blair.
The chance to make big-time plays in big-time games is the reason why Blair and nearly two dozen players decided to transfer to Memphis in the off-season.
” It’s what I used to dream of as a kid,” said Memphis linebacker Chandler Martin. “Growing up, I always wanted to play big-time ball. Just a blessing, really, because coming from a school where maybe 12 thousand fans were in the stands and now it’s 30, 40, 50 thousand and so it’s just a great feeling. I’m cherishing every moment of it”.
” This is a very pivotal game for us to determine maybe if we can get to the conference championship, this is definitely why I came to Memphis to be in a game like this and play for a conference championship,” said Blair.
The Tigers’ defense has 19 takeaways on the season, which is tied for eleventh best in the nation. However, they’ve surrendered 29 points per game on average, which is why they have to play their best game of the season against the Mustangs.
” At the end of the day, the scheme is great, but it’s never what you do. It’s always how you do it. And certainly, I can do a better job of putting our best players in position to make plays,” said defensive coordinator Matt Barnes.
Since that mid-October loss at home to Tulane, the Tigers have won four straight despite some pretty close calls.
“So it’s really just about staying steady, not being too high or not being too low at points. Just be in the middle of the race the whole time,” said Blair.