Thanks to its longest winning streak in 11 years, Memphis is already assured of ending its five-year bowl-game drought. On Saturday, the American Athletic Conference-leading Tigers can guarantee themselves a share of a league title for the first time since 1971 when it wraps up its regular season at home against Connecticut. Memphis, which hasn’t reached the postseason since losing in the 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl, secured its fifth straight victory with a 31-20 win over USF last weekend.
The Tigers last mounted a winning streak of that length in 2003, which was when Memphis ended a 32-year streak without a bowl game and tied a school record with nine victories – a feat they can match on Saturday. The Huskies, meanwhile, have been largely uncompetitive in their conference games outside of a surprising Nov. 1 upset win over second-place UCF – which is tied with Cincinnati for second place in the AAC, one-half game behind Memphis. UConn was shut out at home for the first time since 1978, gaining 129 total yards in a 41-0 setback against Cincinnati last week.TV: 4 p.m. ET, ESPNews. LINE: Memphis -21
ABOUT UCONN (2-8, 1-5 AAC): First-year coach Bob Diaco attempted to shake things up by turning to sophomore Tim Boyle over regular starter Chandler Whitmer at quarterback against the Bearcats, but the move proved fruitless as the Huskies netted nine yards on 26 first-half plays. Among the areas that displeased Diaco the most was his team’s fourth three-turnover game of the season, sinking any hope for the nation’s sixth-lowest scoring team versus Cincinnati. "Three turnovers that all produced points … Cincinnati averages 40 points a game anyway, and now they are playing on half a field with extra possessions? (You’ve) got no chance,” Diaco said after the game.
ABOUT MEMPHIS (8-3, 6-1): Sophomore quarterback Paxton Lynch threw and ran for a pair of touchdowns to post his third four-score game of the season and move into sixth place in school history with 35 career TDs. Keiwone Malone – one of nine Tigers with at least 10 catches – moved into a tie for eighth in Tiger history in career receptions with 113 with Isaac Bruce (1992-93) while Martin Ifedi had a sack to give him a school-record 22.5 for his career. Memphis, which ranks fourth in the country in red-zone offense and second in red-zone defense, is one of only two schools (Florida State) that sits in the top 10 in both areas.
1. A victory would give Memphis its first six-game winning streak since the Tigers won seven in a row to close the 1969 season.
2. UConn WR Geremy Davis, who missed two games with a lower leg injury before returning against Cincinnati, has recorded a catch in 34 consecutive games.
3. Memphis’ 375 points scored is the fifth-highest total in school history.
PREDICTION: Memphis 42, Connecticut 13