TIGERS OFF TO FAST START
Memphis (2-1) forced a 3-and-out against Sun Belt foe Georgia State (1-2) on the opening drive of the game, before jumping out to an early lead and never looking back. Starting on their own 26, the Tigers offense appeared to suffer a 3-and-out of their own on the offense’s first possession, but Jonathon Wilson received the snap when the Tigers lined up in punt formation and picked up the needed 4 yards for the first down.
Darrell Henderson followed the fake punt up with a 29 yard rush, before Brady White hit Tony Pollard, who fully returned from injury for this game, on a fade route in the back of the end zone for a 7-0 Tigers lead.
After the Tigers defense forced another 3-and-out, Brady White led Memphis on 10-play drive that went 75 yards over 3:25 of game time, and ended with White hitting Damonte Coxie on a play-action fade for the touchdown. Coxie ended the game with a career-high 123 yards on 6 receptions and 2 touchdowns. He also caught several off-target passes and showed why he has been talked up over the last few years by the coaching staff.
Georgia State then answered with a 52-yard drive that resulted in a field goal, as the Panthers got their only points of the 1st quarter. Darrell Henderson answered with a 54-yard touchdown run (and a sweet juke move) on just the 2nd play of the ensuing drive to put Memphis up 21-3.
AS THE LEAD GREW
GSU answered once again, embarking on a 12-play drive that spanned 6:54 and accumulated 70 yards before Panther quarterback Dan Ellington capped off the drive with a rushing TD. This drive saw the Memphis defense pick up 3 penalties and allow a 4th down conversion. Memphis answered with Henderson picking up 50 yards on the ground on 2 carries prior to White finding Antonio Gibson on a WR screen for an 11-yard TD.
White finished with 269 passing yards, going 19-26 and tossing 5 TD passes to 4 different receivers. In addition to Pollard, Coxie (2), and Gibson, Mechane Slade also had a nifty swin move that helped him find the end zone early in the 3rd quarter.
The Tigers closed the 1st half with a 38-10 lead on a Riley Patterson 28-yard field goal. Prior to the final drive, a Tito Windham interception after Jonathon Wilson forced Dan Ellington to make a bad decision, set up White’s second touchdown to Coxie on the night.
DARRELL HENDERSON SHINES
As the 4th quarter began, Darrell Henderson took his final carry of the night 61 yards to the house for his second touchdown of the evening. Henderson finished with 233 yards on 14 carries and became the first Memphis running back to gain 200 yards in back-to-back games since DeAngelo Williams. Henderson improved on his FBS-best 13 yards per carry by averaging 16.6 YPC against the panthers.
Henderson’s final touchdown pushed the Tigers’ lead to 52-16, before Mike Norvell decided to bring in the reserves. On the ensuing GSU drive, sophomore John Tate IV blocked a Panthers field goal attempt. Kenny Gainwell then answered with a 72-yard touchdown run of his own, making it 59-16.
Freshman quarterback, Brady McBride threw a pick-6 on bubble screen attempt on the Tigers own 1-yard line that allowed the Panthers to bring the score to 59-22 to close out the game.
- Tony Pollard finished with 3 receptions for 42 yards and a TD to go along with 4 carries for 22 yards.
- Tight end Joey Magnifico finished with 1 catch for 8 yards, I expected him and fellow TE Sean Dykes to have a much larger role in this offense. I still think we will see them targeted more once we fully get into conference play.
- Running back Patrick Taylor, who led the Tigers in TDs last season, had 5 carries for just 15 yards, but also contributed 2 receptions for 35 yards. The depth at the RB position is very special in my opinion.
- Tim Hart led the defense with 7 tackles, with Tyrez Lindsey and Tito Windham (INT) both finished with 6 apiece.
- Bryce Huff finished with 2 sacksMEm and he, along with the rest of the Memphis Defense put pressure on GSU’s QB Ellington all night.
- The Tigers outgained GSU 410-173 on the ground, with Memphis averaging 11.7 YPC as a team.
- Memphis had 269 passing yards compared to 139 for the Panthers.
- Memphis finished with 10 penalties that cost them 79 yards. That cannot continue to happen.
Memphis will once again play host to a member of the Sun Belt Conference, as the South Alabama Jaguars will make the trip to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium next Saturday for a 7:00 pm matchup against the Tigers. The game will be shown on WMC-TV and ESPN3.
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