Memphis Drops Road Contest to Rice, 28-6
Oct. 8, 2011
After compiling just 107 yards of offense in the first half, including 57 yards passing, Memphis finished with 307 total offensive yards. Freshman Taylor Reed and redshirt-sophomore Andy Summerlin combined for 180 passing yards in the second half. Rice totaled 350 yards total offense with all but 105 of those yards coming in the first half.
"First and foremost, I take my hat off to Coach (David) Bailiff and his team," said Memphis head coach Larry Porter. "They played well enough to win this game. All in all, we didn't play a balanced game in terms of offense, defense and special teams. We have to have more from every phase of our team."
Summerlin entered the game at the end of the third quarter for Reed and passed for 137 yards in the fourth quarter. In his first game since the season opener against Mississippi State, Summerlin completed a career long pass of 44-yards to redshirt-freshman Kevin Wright and finished the game 9-of-13 passing.
But the Memphis offense failed to get into much of a rhythm with the Rice defense coming up with five sacks in the game. Summerlin was sacked three times with the final one forcing a fumble deep in Memphis territory.
Senior wide receiver Tannar Rehrer continued to be a favorite target of Memphis quarterbacks and finished with a career-high 11 receptions for 89 yards. The 11 receptions ranks tied for third in school history. The last Tiger to record 11 or more catches in a game was Duke Calhoun against Southern Miss in 2009.
Wright also finished with a career high in receiving yards with four catches for 82 yards.
Reed finished with 100 yards passing, completing 15-of-30 attempts with two interceptions. He also tied for the team lead in rushing with 29 yards on eight carries.
The Memphis defense continued to cause its opponents to turn over the ball. Terrence Thomas and Akeem Davis both came up with interceptions in the first half. Freshman Terry Redden recovered a Rice fumble in the second half for the third Owl turnover. Two of the three turnovers resulted in field goals for Memphis.
"On a day in which you get three turnovers that certainly gives you a good opportunity of putting points on the board and also victory," Porter said. "Obviously, offensively, we couldn't get anything established throughout the day, which put us in a bad position."
Rice took a 7-0 lead with 5:34 remaining in the first quarter. After Memphis was unable to capitalize on Thomas' interception, the Owls drove 69 yards on nine plays for the score. The Tigers stopped Rice for no gain on third down and one to go, but a fourth down conversion in a wildcat formation kept the drive alive. The next play, Tyler Smith rushed for 31 yards to the Memphis four-yard line and Turner Peterson punched the ball in a few snaps later on a one-yard rush.
Later in the first quarter, Davis picked off his third interception in the last three games on a pass tipped by Cannon Smith. After the drive sputtered out at the Rice 33, Henriques kicked a career-long 50-yard field goal to put Memphis on the board, 7-3. The field goal was Henriques' first successful kick in three attempts of 50 yards or more. His previous career long was a 47-yard field goal against Southern Miss last season.
Rice extended its lead to 14-3 with a touchdown late in the first half. The drive began at the Memphis 46 and included three third-down conversions. Following Frank Trotter's second sack in the half that put the ball at the Memphis 15 on third down with 12 to go, Taylor McHargue found tight end Luke Willson in the end zone for the touchdown.
The Owls made it 21-3 early in the third quarter. A Rice blitz tipped Reed's pass. Jared Williams intercepted the popup and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown. On the next Rice series, the Owls increased its lead to 28-3 on a 74-yard, seven-play touchdown drive. Peterson ran the ball in one yard for his second touchdown in the game.
Redden recovered a fumble by McHargue to give Memphis the ball at the Rice 20 at the end of the third quarter. It was the third forced turnover by the Tiger defense, which has recovered fumbles in all but the Middle Tennessee game this season.
However, the Memphis offense was unable to move the ball and settled for a 30-yard field goal by Henriques to make the score 28-6. It was the second time Henriques has kicked multiple field goals in a game this season and the seventh time in his career.
Thomas led the Tiger defense with 10 tackles and had nine stops in the first half. Trotter set a career high with two sacks in the game and had three tackles for loss, combining for a loss of nine yards. As a team, Memphis had seven tackles for loss in the game.
Memphis' next home meeting will be versus East Carolina on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. That game has been designated as Youth Football Night, and all kids ages 14 and under will receive free admission if wearing a football jersey. Tickets for parents and coaches are $10 each and can be purchased at the stadium on game day at Gate 1 or in advance by contacting the U of M ticket office at 901-678-2331.