R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Preview: Memphis Tigers vs. Florida Atlantic
Date: Friday December 21st, 8 p.m.(ESPN2)
Memphis quarterback Martin Hankins can sling the rock and sling it well.
Florida Atlantic quarterback Rusty Smith is one of the best sophomore quarterbacks in all of college football. He was recently named the 2007 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.
The unquestioned leader for Florida Atlantic is their super sophomore of a quarterback, Rusty Smith. The 2007 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year completed 57.3% of his passes for 3,352 yards while firing 27 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
Memphis running back Joseph Doss is one of the best running backs in C-USA.
If you want solid running backs, this game will also feature a pair of those as well. The Memphis Tigers tailback is senior Joseph Doss. This year Doss has 154 carries and has chewed up 715 yards of real estate, while racking up 5 touchdowns.
That's Florida Atlantic tailback Charles Pierre jumping through the air over a pile of defenders.
Junior tailback Charles Pierre will be toting the rock for Florida Atlantic. He has put up nearly identical numbers to those of Joseph Doss. This season Pierre has 159 carries for 733 yards, while scoring seven touchdowns. It's safe to say that the running back match up in this game is dead even.
Florida Atlantic receiver Cortez Gent is one of the best receivers in all of college football.
If you're looking for the best offensive player in this game, look no further than sensational sophomore receiver Cortez Gent of Florida Atlantic. He put up gaudy stats this season, hauling in 61 passes for 1,030 yards and nine touchdowns. He racked up those numbers in just 11 games, because he didn't play against Oklahoma State.
It's a bird, it's a plane, no wait, it's Florida Atlantic tight end Jason Harmon leaping in the air!
Florida Atlantic has another stud receiver and his name is Jason Harmon. The freakishly athletic tight end snagged 56 balls for 728 yards and four touchdowns this season for the Owls.
Memphis receiver Carlos Singleton leads the team in touchdown catches with 10 catches this year.
The Memphis Tigers also have a very fine receiving corps. Their leading receiver is yet another stud sophomore by the name of Duke Calhoun. He's hauled in 58 balls for 850 yards and five touchdowns this year for the Tigers.
Florida Atlantic kick returner/receiver DiIvory Edgecomb is one of the most dynamic returners in all of college football.
On special teams the Florida Atlantic Owls' very own DiIvory Edgecomb not only has one of the best names in college football, but he also happens to be one of the best all-purpose threats as well. This year the stud return man has piled up over 1,000 yards on kickoff returns, averaging just over 22 yards per return.
Both defenses are extremely generous in surrendering yardage and points. Memphis and Florida Atlantic have both allowed over 400 yards per game and over 30 points per contest. I'd look for the scoreboard operator to get carpal tunnel in this one, since both offenses are so superb at scoring and both defenses are so porous.
Florida Atlantic linebacker Frantz Joseph is a "heat-seeking missile in pads" for the Owls.
The Florida Atlantic defense might have been known to surrender chunks of yardage this season, but you certainly can't point the finger at it's two immensely talented linebackers, Frantz Joseph and Cergile Sincere.
Memphis head coach Tommy West points linebacker Jake Kasser downfield.
The undisputed leader of the Memphis Tiger defense is linebacker Jake Kasser. He's racked up a team-leading 95 tackles this season and earned second-team All-C-USA honors. The star linebacker has also tallied three tackles for loss and recovered three fumbles.
Florida Atlantic freshman cornerback Tavious Polo has been one of the nation's best kept secrets for the entire 2007-2008 college football season.
Since this game is so evenly matched on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, this match up will likely hinge on whoever wins the turnover battle.
Junior corner Corey Small and senior safety Taheem Acevedo have both picked off five passes this season for the Owls. In the picture above, the talented tandem are seen celebrating. Those two are a very big reason why Florida Atlantic leads the nation in turnover margin.
Memphis is not far behind with a + .75 rating in turnover margin, ranking them 17th nationally. One reason they rank so highly in that category is because free safety Brandon Patterson has snagged three interceptions this season for the Tigers. Three other players have picked off two passes this season for Memphis: LeRico Mathis, Tony Bell, and another all-name team candidate, LaKeitharun Ford.
Florida Atlantic head coach Howard Schnellenberger will be smiling after bringing the Owls' their first bowl victory in school history. He's done a remarkable job with the Florida Atlantic program already, a bowl victory would just be icing on the cake.
This game is, on paper, probably the most evenly matched bowl game you are going to find this year. The game features two potent offensive attacks that can light up the scoreboard and two defenses that are incredibly generous in allowing points.
The pick: Florida Atlantic 49 Memphis 35
Taylor Bradford, may you rest in peace.
R.I.P. Taylor Bradford:
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