The Tigers rushed for 312 yards, with two 100-yard rushers and Brady White connected with 3 different receivers for each of his touchdown passes. The Memphis defense held South Alabama to just 3.8 yards per play in a strong performance from Adam Fuller’s unit.
On the very first play of the game, South Alabama tried to get tricky and JoJo Dorceus was having none of it, stuffing the play for a loss of 12 yards. This set the tone for the defense as they allowed just 101 yards on the ground and 147 through the air. South Alabama could not get anything going all game.
After 3 punts to open the game, Mike Norvell called upon Kenneth Gainwell to get the Tigers on the board. Gainwell ran the ball 3 times for 82 yards on three consecutive plays and found pay dirt on play number 3, to put the Tigers on the board. The drive was highlighted by this 71-yard gain from the redshirt freshman, who went untouched most of the way.
After 2 more punts from USA and 1 from the Tigers, Brady White went 3-3 on a 7-play, 74 yard drive that took 2:45 and spanned from the end of the 1st to early in the 2nd quarter. White connected with Damonte Coxie for 23 yards, Antonio Gibson for 22 yards, and then found Kylan Watkins on a beautiful ball that Watkins made a hell of a catch on to put Memphis up 14-0.
After a Brady White interception was sandwiched between 2 more Jaguar punts, Watkins got the Tigers offense going with a 72-yard gain with 8:14 left in the first quarter. The big gain led to White finding Kedarian Jones for a 2-yard TD pass. Jones would later leave the game after what appeared to be a knee injury suffered at the end of a punt return.
JJ Russell lead the defense with 7 tackles, while Austin Hall added 6 tackles to go along with 2 fumble recoveries, one of which he scooped and took 48 yards for the score. Reserve linebacker Xavier Cullens grabbed an interception in the 4th quarter for the Tigers 3rd and final forced turnover on the day. Everitt Cunningham and Jonathan Wilson both collected sacks for the Memphis D.
Gainwell finished with 16 carries for 145 yards on the ground, while Watkins made the most of his 11 carries finishing with 113 yards. Treveon Samuel contributed 26 yards on just 3 carries as the Tigers amassed 312 rushing yards as a team.
Coxie lead the receivers with 3 receptions for 81 yards and a TD. Antonio Gibson, Jones, and Watkins were the recipients of White’s 3 passing touchdowns. Joey Magnifico had 1 catch for 58 yards, that had to be the break of the day for the Tigers, as USA should have intercepted the errant pass from White.
After a dominant performance like this one it is hard to be nitpicky, but the Tigers offense could have done a better job at finishing drives for touchdowns. Coxie had a couple balls that I thought he could have caught, but didn’t. White overthrew and threw behind his receivers a few times and still can’t move out of the pocket once it begins to collapse. Memphis had 10 penalties for 100 yards and that will be the difference between a win and loss in a close game if it is not cleaned up.
All in all, a very good win for Memphis Football who moves to 3-0 heading into a bye week. The Tigers will have the week off before playing host to the Naval Academy in a Thursday Night American Athletic Conference showdown. Navy opened conference play with a 42-10 win over ECU today.
[Feature Image: @MemphisFootball]