The Iowa State Cyclones (7-5) meet the Memphis Tigers (10-2) in the Autozone Liberty Bowl at 12:30 p.m. E.T, Saturday, Dec 30. In their final five games of the season, the Cyclones were 2-3, losing their final game to Kansas State 20-19. With a 4-5 record, they ended their season in fifth place in the Big Ten West. The Tigers topped the AAC West but lost the title game to #14 UCF 62-55. Prior to the championship loss, they won seven straight games. Our Iowa State plays Memphis 2017 Liberty Bowl pick has the Tigers at -3.5 and the over/under at 66.5. Here’s how we see the second of four bowl games for Dec 30 turning out. It should offer a lot of offense that includes a lot of passing and breakaway rushes.
Iowa State Overview
The Cyclones have a healthy offense that is compiling on average 389 YPG of offense, which includes 270 YPG in the air. They are scoring 29.9 PPG. Either Kyle Kempt or Jacob Park will start at QB for ISU. Of the two, Kempt is more accomplished and reliable. He’s thrown for 13 TDs while tossing three picks. Allen Lazard is the team’s primary pass catcher with 63 receptions for 799 yards and nine TDs. RB David Montgomery has 11 TDs on 234 rushes. He’s gained a total of 1,094 yards, averaging 4.7 YPA.
The ISU defense, which is giving up 21.0 PPG, is allowing just 134 YPG on the ground and a total of 234 YPG in the air. The Cyclone rush defense has over 80 TFL. The pass defense is lacking, as they have fewer than 20 sacks and a dozen picks. DBs Kamari Cotton-Moya (3 INTs, 2 PD) and Brian Peavy (2 INTs, 7 PD) are the best the team has to offer. They will need to have stellar days for ISU to have a chance to win.
- Two QBs with Kempt being better
- Decent pass attack
- Good rush defense but weak pass D
The Tigers are generating 47.7 PPG. They are compiling 339 YPG through their passing game and 209 when rushing. Memphis QB Riley Ferguson (63.0 COMP%, 36 TDs, 9 INTs) is an accomplished passer and quality field general. He’s favorite target is WR Anthony Miller (92 REC, 1,407 YDs, 15.3 AVG, 17 TDs). Miller can break a big play at any time. The Tigers a.lso feature a fine running back in Darrell Henderson. He has 130 carries for 1,154 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 8.9 YPA. Patrick Taylot Jr, who has rushed for 798 yards on 140 carries, has crossed the goal line 13 times.
Although they have a dynamic offense, Memphis lacks a stingy defense, as they are allowing opponents 33.4 PPG and a total of 476 YPG. Of those total yards, 279 are via the pass attack and the other 197 are through the running game. LB Genard Avery (75 TCLs, 6 SCKs, 19.5 TFL) is a difference-maker on defense, while DB Terrell Carter (4 INTs, 9 PD) is the top-performer in the secondary.
- Dynamic pass attack
- Effective and productive running game
- Defense is weak
Three Autozone Liberty Bowl Takeaways
For our Iowa State plays Memphis 2017 Liberty Bowl pick three major takeaways, we find that-
- QB edge goes to Memphis
- Defensive edge to ISU
- Overall offensive edge to Tigers
Our 2017 Autozone Liberty Bowl Pick
It will be difficult for Iowa State to stop the Memphis offense, which is loaded. Still, the Cyclones do have some sound defensive weapons. In the end, we think that the Tigers will break out in this game. Our Iowa State plays Memphis 2017 Liberty Bowl pick is Memphis at 3.5. Take the over at 66.5.