Tigers Rush Past Arkansas State, 31-7
Sept. 21, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Marquis Warford rushed for 173 yards on 11 carries and Brandon Hayes had 114 yards on 18 carries to help Memphis (1-2) rush past Arkansas State (2-2), 31-7, on Saturday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers finished with 505 yards of total offense, its first outing with 500 or more yards of offense since facing Southern Miss in 2008. Memphis rushed for a total of 329 yards in the game, the most since having 379 yards on the ground against Tulane in 2008.
Memphis' defense did a number on Arkansas State, tying a school record with seven sacks. The U of M held ASU to 255 total yards of offense while holding its second-straight opponent under 100 yards rushing. The Tigers limited the Red Wolves to seven points, the fewest for Arkansas State since September of the 2011 season.
The Tigers got off to a quick start as quarterback Paxton Lynch completed a 24-yard pass to Sam Craft to get Memphis to midfield. A facemask penalty against Arkansas State moved the Tigers to the Red Wolves 38 and Hayes used three carries to move the ball inside the ASU 30. Lynch completed passes of six and 14 yards to put Memphis six yards away from scoring. Hayes capped the seven-play, 77-yard drive a six yard score and a 7-0 Tigers lead.
Memphis' defense sacked ASU quarterback Adam Kennedy twice on their opening drive forcing the Red Wolves to punt. Martin Ifedi sacked Kennedy for a loss of five and Terry Redden registered a sack later in the posession to force third and long. Keiwone Malone returned the punt from ASU 31 yards to set up the Tigers in good field position.
The Tigers grabbed a 14-0 lead with a five-play, 36 yard drive with Lynch completing one of his two passes. Hayes scampered 21 yards on first down and Marquis Warford rushed for a seven yard gain two plays later. Lynch completed a two yard pass to Hayes and the Tigers came up inches away from first down. Memphis elected to go for it on fourth down and was rewarded as Lynch completed a six-yard pass to Alan Cross for the touchdown.
Arkansas State responded on their next posession to cut the Tigers lead to 14-7. The six-play, 58-yard drive was capped by J.D. McKissic leaping over the goal line for the 15-yard touchdown. Memphis answered with a 23-yard field goal by Jake Elliot, giving the U of M a 17-7 advantage.
The Tigers continued a dominant first half with Craft rushing for a five-yard score and a 24-7 lead. A 28-yard punt return by Malone put Memphis on the ASU 34-yard line to start the scoring drive. A pass interference call against the Red Wolves helped the Tigers move inside the red zone and Warford rushed 11-yards to get Memphis inside the 10.
Memphis finished the first half with 315 yards of total offense, 216 of which came in the ground attack. Warford had three carries for 121 yards in the second quarter and had a first half total of 133. The Tigers defense did their job as well, sacking the quarterback six times while adding three more tackles for loss. Ifedi had two and a half sacks in the first half and Bobby McCain had an interception, the lone turnover by either team in the first half.
Defense continued to come up big for the Tigers as the U of M forced Arkasnsa State to go three-and-out on its first posession of the second half. On the Red Wolves' next drive, ASU drove 36 yards to the Memphis 31-yard line before facing fourth and four. The Tigers defense tackled Kennedy for a loss, resulting in a turnover on downs.
The Tigers continued the ground attack, piling up 37 yards on the ground in an eight play, 69-yard drive. Daniel Hurd made his first career reception, a 27-yard pass from Lynch. Hurd hauled in another catch on the next play, a five-yard catch to put Memphis on the ASU 26-yard line. After a seven-yard rush from Hayes, Warford had two carries for 19 yards and capped the drive with a 16-yard scamper for the Tigers' 31-7 lead.
Arkansas State was able to move past midfield just one more time in the second half, but the Tigers defense held again, forcing the turnover on downs. Memphis held ASU scoreless in the second half as the Red Wolves had 121 yards of offense and only 26 yards rushing.
After a week off for its second bye week of the season, Memphis returns to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to take on UCF on Saturday, October 5.