University of Memphis captains for the Arkansas State game and the second straight contest were LB Akeem Davis, OL Jordan Devey and LB Charles Harris. Arkansas State won the toss and deferred. Memphis received and defended the south goal.
Freshman Ricky Hunter made his first career start at defensive end while Johnnie Farms made his first start of the season at nose tackle. Offensively, sophomore receiver Reggie Travis and junior running back Jerrell Rhodes made their first starts of the season.
Memphis opened the game with a seven-play, 77-yard scoring drive which consumed 2:42. The drive was highlighted by a season-long, 28-yard run by Jerrell Rhodes and capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Karam to Alan Cross.
The 18-yard scoring reception was Cross’ first scoring catch as a Tiger.
First-time players in the Arkansas State game included junior transfer running back Jai Steib who had carries of six and one yards on his first two career touches as a Tiger. He finished with nine rushes for 32 yards with a long of nine yards.
Keiwone Malone’s 41-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was the sophomore’s second of his career. Malone went on to catch a career-high seven passes for a career-high 90 yards.
In his first start of the year, Reggie Travis caught a career-long, 27-yard pass early in the fourth quarter. On the same drive, Jacob Karam had a career-long, 26-yard run. Karam finished with 36 yards rushing on seven carries.
Jacob Karm finished 14-for-24 for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
After missing most of preseason camp with an injury, senior Zach Gholson saw his first action of the year against Arkansas State. Gholson registered a tackle on his first series played in 2012. (third series of the game). He finished the game with a career high six tackles, all assisted stops.
Lonnie Ballentine led the team with a career high 15 tackles. His previous high was eight.
Charles Harris had a career high 13 tackles and had double-digit stops for the second-straight game. Harris had 12 assisted stops, which ranks tied for fifth in school history.
Anthony Brown had a career high nine tackles in the game, including three solo stops.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
Memphis’ special teams accounted for two touchdowns in the game; one off a blocked punt and the other off a fumble on a punt.
After blocking a kick the previous week, freshman Tevin Jones pounced on a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game. Jones’ recovered a blocked punt by Anthony Watson. The last time Memphis blocked a punt for a touchdown was against Louisville in 1997.
In the third quarter, freshman Wynton McManis recovered a muffed punt in the end zone for a touchdown, which at the time gave the Tigers a 28-24 lead.
Marcus Rucker established a new career high in kickoff return yards with 104 in the game against the Red Wolves on six returns. The last person to record a 100-yard kick return game for Memphis was Curtis Johnson with 162 yards against UAB.
Junior punter Tom Hornsey averaged 46.8 yards on eight punts on the night. Hornsey booted seven kicks inside A-State’s 20-yard line and had a long of 62 yards.