The 2022 First Responder Bowl features the 6-6 Memphis Tigers against the 6-6 Utah State Aggies. Here is the 2022 First Responder Bowl preview.
Memphis Tigers (6-6)
Memphis won six games to qualify for their ninth straight bowl game. They defeated one bowl-eligible team, North Texas, this season. All six of their losses came to bowl-eligible teams.
The Tigers score 35.1 points per game, ranking 22nd in the country. They pass for 278.8 yards (ranked 22nd) and rush for 141.9 yards per game (ranked 81st).
Seth Hanigan has been at quarterback for the Tigers and has played solidly. He has 3,287 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions on 63.8 percent completion. Six players have at least 300 receiving yards on the season. Caden Prieskorn, Javon Ivory and Eddie Lewis each have over 500 yards. Prieskorn leads the team with six touchdown catches.
Four players have over 200 rushing yards this season. Jevyon Ducker has 461 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Asa Martin has 392 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
The defense allows 27.3 points per game, ranking them 75th in the FBS. They concede 121.8 rushing yards (ranked 26th) and 250.2 passing yards per game (ranked 99th). Linebacker Xavier Cullens leads the team with 104 total tackles. Cormontae Hamilton has a team-high 4.5 sacks. Safety Quindell Johnson has four passes defended and four interceptions on the year.
Utah State Aggies (6-6)
Utah State won six games to make their second-straight bowl game. The Aggies won games against San Jose State, Air Force and UConn, all of which are playing in bowl games. They lost to UNLV, who didn’t make a bowl game, and Weber State, who plays at the FCS level.
The offense scores 23.2 points per game, which is tied for 100th in the FBS. They average 200.2 passing yards (ranked 105th) and 161.9 passing yards per game (ranked 59th).
Utah State has had a few different quarterbacks this year, but Cooper Legas started down the stretch. He has 1,465 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 61.2 percent completion. Three players have over 450 receiving yards. Brian Cobbs is the top receiver with 70 catches for 844 yards and four touchdowns.
Three players have over 250 rushing yards for the Aggies. The workhorse running back has been Calvin Tyler Jr. with 1,043 yards and seven touchdowns. He has opted out, so Robert Briggs will get the work after having 353 yards and a touchdown during the season.
Defensively, the Aggies give up 30.6 points per game, which is 103rd in the country. They give up 198.2 rushing yards (ranked 118th) and 198.4 passing yards per game (ranked 25th). Linebacker AJ Vongphachanh paces the team with 92 total tackles. Daniel Grzesiak has 6.5 sacks this season for the team high. Michael Anyanwu has 10 interceptions and one interception on the year.
Memphis has been more battle-tested this season and has the better offense. They will be able to move the ball on Utah State and win the game.
Memphis Tigers 36 Utah State Aggies 25
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