Second Half Rally Comes Up Short Against SMU, 34-29
Oct. 19, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Two fumble recovery touchdowns by Ryan Coleman, which tied an NCAA record for a third time, sparked a furious Memphis rally, but the Tigers came up short to SMU, 34-29, on Saturday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
SMU grabbed a 31-3 halftime advantage before the Tigers used three turnovers and a late touchdown to put up 26 second half points. SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert passed for 321 yards and rushed for 49 more as the Mustangs out-gained the Tigers 460-320 on the game. Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch was 26-of-36 for 198 yards, completing passes to nine different receivers.
SMU wasted little time in grabbing a 7-0 advantage as Keenan Holman hauled in a 79-yard touchdown pass in the Mustang's second play of the game. Gilbert had a four-yard completion to Jeremy Johnson before Holman caught the 79-yard score.
Memphis gained one first down on the ensuing drive before Tom Hormsey was forced to punt. Hormsey pinned the Mustangs inside the five yard line, his 11th punt this season downed inside the 10. Memphis' defense forced a three and out to give the Tigers the ball at their own 47.
The Tigers used eight plays to push the ball to a 3rd-and-7 at the SMU 35-yard line, but the Mustangs sacked Lynch. Memphis placekicker Jake Elliott nailed the 52-yard field goal attempt to cut the Tigers deficit to 7-3. The 52-yard field goal conversion was a career-best for Elliott and ranks second all-time.
After Regis Ball blocked and recovered a SMU punt, Memphis gained possession at the Mustangs' 28. Lynch completed two passes to pick up six yards, but a third down pass attempt was thrown out of bounds, setting up a field goal attempt. Elliott attempted from 39 yards, but the kick was wide of the uprights to keep SMU in the lead 7-3.
SMU added to that lead with a seven-play, 78-yard drive. On third and six from their own 26, Gilbert scampered for a gain of 24 yards. Following two completions to gain 18 yards, Gilbert found Johnson over the middle for a 31 yard pickup to put the Mustangs one yard away from the score. Traylon Shead rushed for the one yard score and SMU led 14-3 with 13:59 remaining in the first half.
The Mustangs recovered a Tigers' fumble at the 32-yard line and added seven more points off the turnover to lead 21-3. A third down conversion keyed the drive as Gilbert found Holman for a 16-yard gain on third and 11. After a 16 yard completion to Darius Joseph, Shead rushed one yard for his second touchdown of the day.
Memphis turned the ball over on downs and the Mustangs took over on the 41. The Mustangs used a 37-yard field goal by Chase Hover to increase the lead to 24-3. The 10-play, 39-yard drive was stopped at the 20 as Memphis held on a third and five to force the field goal try.
SMU closed the half with an eight play drive that chewed up 71 yards and led the Mustangs to a 31-3 halftime lead. Gilbert was 5-for-7 on the drive for 36 yards and helped by a pass interference call in Memphis territory. Colin Lagasse caught an eight-yard pass from Gilbert to cap the drive for SMU.
Memphis was forced to punt on the first possession of the second half and Hornsey pinned the Mustangs inside the one yard line. Gilbert scampered on third and long from their one-yard line and moved the SMU offense 85 yards before Memphis forced a field goal try. Hover was good from 31 yards to give SMU a 34-3 lead.
The Tigers continued to fight as the defense got a takeaway for a touchdown. After a Memphis punt, SMU started a drive handing the ball off to Shead. Coleman tackled Shead and ripped the ball out, scampering 15 yards for the touchdown to cut the deficit to 34-10.
A second forced turnover resulted in a touchdown for the Tigers. SMU punt returner JaBryce Turner fumbled the return and Coleman scooped it and scored, bringing the U of M within 34-16. The Tigers went for the two point conversion, but the pass attempt was intercepted.
The turnovers continued for SMU, but Reggis Ball leapt for the endzone on an interception return at the one yard line, negating his own touchdown on the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Ball intercepted the pass by Gilbert at the six yard line and was credited with the 93 yard return before the penalty.
But Memphis still responded after Balls' touchdown was wiped off the board, pouning the ball four times with carries by Lynch and Brandon Hayes to put this touchdown on the board. Hayes capped the drive with a one yard rush and the SMU lead was down to 34-23.
The rally continued with a seeming touchdown from Craig, but a personal foul facemask penalty against the Tigers halted the progress briefly. After the penalty backed up Memphis to the 17 yard line, Lynch and the U of M drove to the SMU 44. Lynch's check down pass was picked off by Beau Barnes to end the drive, and seemingly the game.
But the Tigers managed one more drive, scoring as time expired to set the final score of 34-29. The 10-play, 80-yard drive was capped by Lynch completing a touchdown pass to Mose Fraizer.
Memphis continues a three-game home stand on Wednesday, October 26 against Cincinnati at 7 p.m.