Memphis captains for the SMU game were linebacker Akeem Davis, offensive lineman Jordan Devey and linebacker Charles Harris. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush were the honorary captains for the game. Akeem Davis called heads for the coin toss and the call was indeed heads. The Tigers deferred and elected to defend the north goal.
For the third straight road game, Memphis provided the opposition for homecoming games. The Tigers also played at Duke and East Carolina for homecoming.
Memphis played the first of back-to-back games on the road for the only time this season. The Tigers travel to Marshall next week.
Brandon Hayes scored his first career touchdown with a 36-yard scamper with 10:41 to play in the second quarter. The run tied for the longest rushing attempt by the Tigers this season. Hayes also had a 36-yard run last week against UCF.
Hayes caught a 13-yard pass in the third quarter, marking his first positive-yardage reception of the season (he had four previous receptions).
While Micah Simmons has seen significant playing time as a protector on punts, Saturday’s game marked the freshman’s most significant playing time as an offensive lineman. Simmons was inserted into the lineup at right guard on the game’s second offensive series and played all but two series at the position.
Brandon Hayes led the Tigers in rushing with 55 yards on nine attempts with the team’s only touchdown. It marked his first game leading the team in rushing yards and third game with over 50 yards on the ground.
Alan Cross led the team in receiving yards with two receptions for 35 yards. It is the second-time the tight end has led the team and the total was one-yard shy of matching his career high of 36 against UT Martin.
For the second straight game and the third time this season, Memphis forced a three-and-out on the first offensive series of the game.
Martin Ifedi posted a late, first-half sack forcing a Garrett Gilbert fumble. The play marked Ifedi’s fifth sack (5 ½) and the sophomore’s second forced fumble. Anthony Brown recovered for the Tigers, his first career fumble recovery. All of Ifedi’s 7 ½ tackles for lost yardage have also came in the four-game stretch.
Ifedi went on to have 2.5 sacks on the day, marking his second career, multiple sack game and tying a career best. He also set a career high with four tackles for loss and seven tackles. Both totals led the team. The four tackles for loss marked the most for Memphis since Johnnie Farms had four against Arkansas State in 2011.
Tank Jakes matched a career high with two tackles for loss and recorded his second career sack in the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
Tom Hornsey, who was announced as one of 69 nominees for the Ray Guy Award the previous day, had 334 punting yards against SMU. Hornsey entered the game with 9,200 yards and with his tally against the Mustangs moved past Hugh Owens for second on the Memphis all-time list with 9,534. Hornsey also entered the week ranked fourth nationally among active punters in punts and punt yards. He is 405 yards away from the school record of 9,939 held by Jeff Fite (1987-90).
Hornsey’s third punt of the day, a 54-yarder downed at the two, moved him past Owens (9,305 yards/1976-79) for second on the all-time yardage list. The punt marked the junior’s 21st inside the 20 and eighth of the year inside the five. He finished with two 54-yard punts, five inside the 20 and the second highest punt average of his career with 47.7 yards. His highest of 48.7 on nine punts came in his first career game against Mississippi State in 2010.
After making just one of his first four field goal attempts, Paulo Henriques knocked through a 45 yarder, late in the first half. It tied for the third-longest field goal of Henriques’ career.
Tyler Spurlock’s 39-yard field goal in the third quarter marked the sophomore’s career-long. His previous career best was a 38-yarder against Middle Tennesee.