The fans at Legion Field see the Memphis Tigers and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday afternoon. They will be playing in the 2018 Jared Birmingham Bowl.
Memphis and Wake Forest will meet for the first time since 1967. The Tigers finished first in the West Division of the American Athletic Conference, but fell in the title game 56-41 to unbeaten Central Florida. The Demon Deacons were tied for fifth in the ACC Atlantic Division. They became bowl-eligible with a 59-7 win over Duke in their regular-season finale.
Darrell Henderson is Memphis’ top offensive threat. He is one of the best running backs in the nation. Henderson was recently named to the Walter Camp All-America first team. The 5-9 junior rushed for 1,909 yards on 214 attempts. He averaged 8.9 yards per attempt while scoring 22 touchdowns. Wake Forest allowed 191.3 rushing yards per game during the regular season. That ranked 91st in FBS.
Wake Forest will be without its top quarterback as freshman Sam Hartman has been declared out. Hartman injured his leg in early November against Syracuse. He missed the final three regular-season games. Sophomore Jamie Newman took his place. Newman isn’t the downfield passing threat Hartman is. He finished the season with 755 passing yards on 101 attempts. He had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 8:3.
This, That and a Dart Throw
Memphis was 8-5 on the season and 5-3 in the conference. The Tigers will be looking to alleviate the sting from their setback to UCF. Memphis jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the first quarter. They’ll try to do so by scoring a lot of points. They feature an explosive offense that averages 248.8 passing yards and 285.5 rushing yards a game. The Tigers are scoring 43.6 points per game, which is the seventh-high mark in the nation. Receiver Damonte Coxie is another player to watch. He has a catch in 17 straight games and is the third player in program history to record a 1,000-yard receiving season. He had 66 catches for 1,104 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season.
Wake Forest was 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the conference during the regular season. The Demon Deacons are in a bowl game for the third year in a row and it took their best performance of the season to get them there. In the route of Duke the offense put up a season high in points. The defense surrendered fewer than 17 points for the first time. The defense ranks 116th out of 129 teams in total defense by giving up 465.3 yards per game.
PREDICTION: Memphis 58, Wake Forest 24
Birmingham Bowl Betting Odds & Trends
|Memphis is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games|
|Memphis is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games|
|The total has gone OVER in 5 of Memphis’s last 6 games|
|Wake Forest Demon Deacons|
|Wake Forest is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Wake Forest’s last 6 games|
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