Friday Night Lights: Memphis Will Bounce Back vs. Georgia State

memphis football

Mark Lathrop

Monday, September 10, 2018 2:36 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 10, 2018 2:36 PM UTC

Memphis returns home to face struggling Georgia State on national television. NCAAF handicapper Mark Lathrop breaks down the game for your picks under Friday Night Lights.

2018 NCAAF Record: 7-4, +6.26u
*Note: Record includes official Twitter selections (@mlathrop3)

Georgia State (1-1 SU) at Memphis (1-1 SU)Friday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free NCAAF Pick: Memphis -25.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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The Memphis Tigers, an early season favorite to take the American Athletic Conference, just suffered an upset loss against a Navy team that got torched by Hawaii. It was a road game though, and Memphis will not have to wait long to right the ship with Georgia State of the Sun Belt coming to town. The Tigers have opened as 25.5-point favorites over the Panthers.

The opponent for Memphis this week couldn’t be more different than Navy. Georgia State had serious issues running the ball last year, nearly dead last in every category in the FBS. Their starting running back against FCS Kennesaw State averaged just 1.8 yards per carry in Week 1. They were better rushing against N.C. State, but mostly garbage time in a 41-7 loss. Point is, Georgia State is a one-dimensional passing team.

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Time to regroup and prep for Georgia State. #GoTigersGo https://t.co/aH0qWE2P0n

— Memphis Tigers (@TigersAthletics) September 8, 2018
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The Memphis defensive backfield is very young -- well, more like they were very young last year and have a year of experience under their belt. There were six freshman DBs who contributed in 2017 for Memphis. They didn’t get tested in the game against Navy, but did snuff out FCS Mercer by allowing just 104 yards passing in Week 1.

The Memphis offense was the most explosive in the country last year, with more "big" plays than any other team, and was ranked fourth in overall offense by the S&P+ metric. Brady White takes the helm as the new QB and is a former Arizona State recruit of coach Mike Norvell, so there is familiarity there as well. White had an insane game against Mercer, but he was kept out of action for most of the game against Navy. He will have a much easier game with Georgia State replacing most of its terrible secondary from last year with likely more terrible freshmen. N.C. State complete 32 of 39 attempts against Georgia State last week at 9.7 yards per completion.

This is an apparent mismatch in strengths and weaknesses, but also in the overall classes of the programs. Georgia State will get better eventually with the youth they have on their roster, but that is next year. Facing a Memphis team on the road after the Tigers just got upset is a recipe for disaster for the Panthers. I’m looking for a blowout here, and will lay heavy chalk with the Tigers in a bounce-back game played in front of a national TV audience.

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