Tigers Fall to Mustangs, 42-0
Sept. 24, 2011
By: Derek Wilcox
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The SMU Mustangs shut out the Memphis Tigers 42-0 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday, gaining their first ever win over the Tigers. The Tigers lead the series against the Mustangs, 3-1.
J.J. McDermott threw for 357 yards and Zach Line ran for 136 yards for SMU as the Mustangs out-gained the Tigers in total yards, 519 to 139. Taylor Reed threw for 153 yards for the Tigers.
SMU got off to a quick 7-0 lead on a one-yard Line run in the first three minutes of the game. Line went on to score another touchdown to put the Mustangs up 14-0 with 5:55 to go in the first quarter.
The Tigers' offense got going after Akeem Davis recovered a fumble at the Memphis 37 with 4:19 to go in the first quarter. The fumble was forced by linebacker Kenyata Johnson and was followed by a 20-yard pass from Reed to Kevin Wright, before the Tigers were forced to punt the ball as the drive stalled at the SMU 44. The Tigers forced a three-and-out and the Mustangs punting after Martin Ifedi sacked McDermott on the SMU 15. The sack was Ifedi's first career sack.
Line struck again with a one-yard touchdown run at 8:59 left in the second quarter after a 40-yard run to the Memphis 1. SMU scored again two minutes later on a 44-yard McDermott pass to Derek Thompson to give the Mustangs a 28-point lead.
Davis picked off McDermott for his first career interception with 1:30 left in the half, setting the stage for a 67-yard drive to the SMU 10. The drive featured a 46-yard Keiwone Malone catch and a 21-yard grab for Tannar Rehrer. The Reed-to-Malone pass was the second-longest passing play of the season for the Tigers. Reed passed for 67 yards on the drive. Reed failed to find an open receiver as the Tigers gave up the ball on downs on the SMU 10-yard line with 43 seconds left in the half.
The Memphis defense pinned SMU against their own goal-line early in the third quarter. The Tigers almost scored when Dontari Poe forced SMU to fumble in their end zone, but it was recovered by the Mustangs before they punted the ball away on the next down.
The Mustangs took the ball all the way to the Memphis one-yard line before Line fumbled and Johnnie Farms recovered for Memphis at the end of the third quarter.
McDermott hit Darius Johnson for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 7:51 left in the game. After another Memphis punt, Randall Joyner recovered an SMU fumble at the Memphis 13-yard line. The Memphis offense again struggled to move the ball down the field and McDermott again connected with Johnson for the final touchdown of the game.
Davis finished with with one interception, one forced fumble, two recovered fumbles, one pass breakup and six tackles. Lavaris Edwards, who was returning kicks for the first time in his career, had six kick returns for 138 yards, including a long of 40 at the start of the second half. Tom Hornsey punted the ball 12 times for 475 yards.
The Tigers recovered three fumbles in today's game, marking the first time since 2008 that the squad has recovered three fumbles in a single game. Senior linebacker Terrence Thomas paced the defense with 13 tackles, including 10 solo stops. It is the second in his career that he has recorded double-digit tackles, with the last time being against UAB in 2010.
The Tigers will be on the road for four of the five weekends in October. They will travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on Middle Tennessee at 6 p.m. on Oct. 1. The game will be carried by ESPN3. Memphis' next home game will be against East Carolina on Oct. 15.