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Thursday, June 20, 2013
Unfamiliar foes: Memphis

By Matt Fortuna

Our series taking a team-by-team look at the marquee nonconference faces the Big East will see in the fall continues today with Memphis.

To read previous entries, click here.

Offensive opponent to watch: David Oku, RB, Arkansas State. The former Tennessee return specialist is back for one more year in Jonesboro, Ark. The Red Wolves travel to Memphis on Sept. 21, one year after beating the Tigers by five in Week 2 of last season. Oku rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in last year's win, which foreshadowed the season he ended up having: 1,061 yards and 16 touchdowns on 243 carries, in addition to 20 catches for 159 yards and another score. He was among the top all-purpose backs coming out of high school in 2009, and he set program records for kickoff returns (33) and kickoff return yards (863) in his first year with the Volunteers, with whom he spent two seasons.

Defensive opponent to watch: Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke. The Tigers start their season a week later than most this fall, hosting the Blue Devils on Sept. 7. Then, Jacob Karam (or whoever is manning the quarterback spot for Memphis) will have to keep an eye out for Cockrell, who finished 2012 with five picks, 12 break-ups, 17 passes defended, one forced fumble, 63 total tackles, including four for loss, and one sack. Cockrell, an All-ACC first-teamer last season, made seven stops, including one for loss, and had one break-up in the Blue Devils' 38-14 win over the Tigers last season.