Senior quarterback Brady White — likely in his last collegiate regular-season start — will lead the host Memphis Tigers against the Houston Cougars in an American Athletic Conference game on Saturday afternoon.
Memphis (6-3, 4-3 AAC) has beaten Houston in each of the past four years. The Tigers are also 5-0 at home this season, and they haven’t lost a home game since October 2018.
Houston (3-3, 3-2) hasn’t played in a month — since defeating the South Florida Bulls 56-21 on Nov. 14. Over the past few weeks, games against Tulsa and SMU were canceled.
White is just 56 yards away from topping Danny Wimprine to become Memphis’ career leader in passing yards. Wimprine threw for 10,215 yards from 2001-04. White already owns the school records for passing touchdowns (85) and wins as a starting quarterback (26).
His top receiver is junior Calvin Austin III, who has logged at least 100 yards in six of his past seven games. Austin ranks second in the AAC in receiving yards (951) as he closes in on his first 1,000-yard season.
However, Memphis lost its most recent game, falling 35-21 at Tulane.
“The only response we’re going to have is to pick ourselves up and keep swinging,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said when asked about the upcoming Houston game. “What we do from here is how we will be defined.”
Houston, which went 4-8 last season, hasn’t had the chance to get on track this year due to COVID-19 and contact tracing.
The last time the Cougars took the field, they scored a season-high 56 points in a rout of South Florida. Junior quarterback Clayton Tune completed 14 of 25 passes for 163 yards and a season-high three TDs in that game. He also rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
“That’s going to change things,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said of Tune’s running ability. “You can’t just play man coverage and ignore the quarterback. You have to keep your eyes on him, and that will open things up in the running and passing games.”
For the season, Tune is completing 60.6 percent of his passes and has 11 TD throws and six interceptions. He is also second on the team with 233 rushing yards.
Tune’s best playmakers are a pair of seniors: running back Kyle Porter and wide receiver Keith Corbin. Porter has a team-high 415 scrimmage yards and is averaging 4.6 yards per touch. Corbin has a team-high 24 receptions for 333 yards and one score.
The Houston defense is led by 6-foot-6, 270-pound senior defensive end Payton Turner, who leads the team with 9.5 tackles for losses.
–Field Level Media