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ServePro First Responders Bowl Preview: Memphis vs Utah State

The thirteenth edition of the ServePro First Responder Bowl will feature a pair of 6-6 teams in the Memphis Tigers and Utah State Aggies. These two teams will meet in Dallas, Texas on December 27th and the game is slated to kick off at 2:15 pm central time. These two teams have met six times prior in their history but this will be their first meeting in a bowl competition. As we preview this matchup, let’s look at who these two teams are. We will start with the visiting Utah State Aggies.

ServePro First Responders Bowl Preview

Utah State

The Aggies come to this game hailing from Logan, Utah, and compete in the Mountain West Conference. Led by second-year head coach, Blake Anderson, the Aggies are a familiar team in the postseason competing in their tenth game in twelve seasons. To close this season, the Aggies won five of their final six games to become bowl eligible. All season this team has been battle tested as five of their six wins were in come-from-behind fashion. Let’s look at what players have stood out in 2022 and could have an impact on Dallas.

Quarterback Cooper Legas

Cooper Legas has appeared in nine while going 128/209 for 1,465 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. The junior was thrust into the starting role when a starter, Logan Bonner, sustained a foot injury, in September, against UNLV. Cooper took this role and has played well this season. Logan has a completion percentage of 61.24% and is facing a Memphis defense that, at times, has allowed many yards through the air. This offense has averaged 23 points per game, 4,347 total yards, and an average of 362 yards per game this season. This will be a great matchup between this offense and a stingy Memphis defense.

Safety Ike Larsen

Ike Larsen the former three-star home state recruit has made an impact on this Aggie defense. The now redshirt freshman was named all-conference following his four interceptions this season. The freshman also set a school record with three blocked kicks, with one being returned for a touchdown in a game, against San Jose State. That win was the bowl-clinching win for this program, this season. In this game, a Memphis offense that can score will test the Aggies’ secondary.

Memphis Tigers

The Tigers are a household name in bowl games. This makes the ninth consecutive bowl game for this program, which no other non-group of five has achieved. Memphis is led by third-year head coach, Ryan Silverfield, who has some doubters this season. The Tigers had an up-and-down season on the way to their second consecutive 6-6 finish. The team is talented on both sides of the ball and looks to win their third consecutive bowl game. Let’s look at some players for the Tigers who will need to have big games.

Quarterback Seth Henigan

Memphis Football rides on the shoulders of Seth Henigan. This sophomore sensation is on pace to break the all-time passing record set by Brady White. Henigan finished this season 266/417 for 3,287 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. He has a completion percentage of 63% and averaged 273 yards passing per game. Seth has weapons in the backfield such as leading rusher, and Northern Illinois transfer, Jayvon Ducker, Asa Martin, and freshman Sutton Smith as well as weapons such as Javon Ivory and others at wide receiver, First year offensive coordinator, Tim Cramsey, said it took him and Seth about a half of football to get each other figured out. In this game, the Tigers will need to start fast and let Seth play his game for the best chance to win.

Safety Quindell Johnson

Meanwhile, Memphis is led by its defense. Under first-year coordinator, Matt Barnes, this defense has made major strides in 2022. Led by senior, Quindell Johnson, this defense has now forced at least one turnover in 13 straight games. This season, Johnson finished second in team tackles, with 51, and leads the team in interceptions, with four on the season. This will be a nice test to see if this defense continues to make progress as the season ends. Could Memphis get another turnover this game? This defense will be looking for an opportunity.

These two teams will be a nice matchup between the American and Mountain West Conference. Two conferences looking to add some respect to their teams and conference outlook on the national scale.


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