In what seems as impossible of a feat as it does, Memphis is preparing for a ninth straight bowl game as the Tigers have made it to Dallas, where they will take on Utah State on Tuesday afternoon in the 2022 SERVPRO First Responders Bowl. Memphis and Utah State have had seven matchups between the programs. Memphis and Utah State last met in 1977 when the Tigers welcomed the Aggies to the Liberty Bowl, where Memphis was victorious 31-26. Both programs come into the bowl matchup looking to gain an inch of momentum heading into the 2023 season, as they both finished with identical 6-6 records.
For Memphis, the 2022 bowl trip provides a bridge to the 2023 season, as the Tigers underperformed and failed to meet expectations set forth by the talent they had coming into the 2022 season. There’s no doubt that despite making a 9th straight bowl, Memphis fans are disappointed in the way the Tigers finished the 2022 regular season. From poor coaching decisions in the East Carolina, Houston, and UCF games to the lack of development seen in the program. Looking back on the season, Memphis should have won two to three more games and should have been more competitive in many more.
However, Memphis still has a lot to play for on Tuesday against Utah State. A win on Tuesday and Coach Ryan Silverfield and his staff can change the perception surrounding the well-being of the program. Memphis has to figure out a way to close the deal and secure another bowl win. If not, Coach Silverfield and his staff could continue to face an uphill climb with the Memphis fan base. At this point, Coach Silverfield and his guys face a must-win situation on Tuesday against Utah State.
As far as the matchup goes for the Tigers, I want to see what Seth Henigen and the Tigers’ offensive unit can do against a Utah State defense that gives up points like its candy. Memphis has shown signs of life and excitement on the offensive side of the ball all season long and, on paper, should have no issues scoring against the Utah State defense.
On defense, Memphis needs to continue to pressure the quarterback, causing turnovers and scoring opportunities for the Memphis offensive unit. If there has been a bright spot all season for Memphis, it has been the defensive unit that has vastly improved from the 2021 season. Like many, I want to see this Memphis defensive unit show the college football world the excitement that has been building all season long.
Overall, Tuesday’s bowl game for the Memphis Tigers is a must-win. A loss, and Coach Silverfield and the program will continue to hear negative comments from fans across Memphis. Go out on Tuesday and silence the critics. Leave no doubt as to the future of the program under the current leadership of Ryan Silverfield.
Memphis and Utah State will kick off Tuesday at 2:15 from Dallas, Texas, on ESPN.