Memphis Falls 23-22 in Final Home Game
Nov. 17, 2011
Memphis, Tenn. - Memphis forced six turnovers, which led to 10 points, but it wasn't enough as the Tigers (2-9; 1-6 C-USA) fell 23-22 to the Marshall Thundering Herd (5-6; 4-3 C-USA) in a heartbreaker at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Thursday. The four fumbles caused were the most by the Tiger since 1995 against Michigan.\Marshall scored first on a 45-yard pass from Troy Evans to Antavious Wilson to give the Thundering Herd an early 7-0 lead in the second minute of play.
Memphis answered with a 69-yard, 10-play scoring drive, capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Billy Foster to tie the game at 7-7 mid-way through the first period. The drive also featured 48 yards on 5-of-5 passing from Taylor Reed.
After the Tiger defense forced another three-and-out situation for the Herd, Marshall punter Kase Whitehead fumbled the snap, which was recovered by Kendrick Golden who returned it 36 yards for a touchdown to give Memphis a 13-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Tyler Warner kicked a 20-yard field goal for the Herd to cut the Tigers' lead to three going into the half. The field goal came at the end of a 14-play, 77-yard drive for Marshall. Memphis led at the half after a blocked PAT, 13-10.
Early in the third quarter, Marshall safety Derek Mitchell blocked a Memphis punt, which was recovered behind the line of scrimmage by punter Tom Hornsey who ran for a first down, but the drive ended when the Tigers failed to convert on third and eight.
Late in the third quarter, Lavaris Edwards picked off Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato and returned the ball six yards to the Marshall 35. Andy Summerlin, who replaced injured Reed, connected with Justin Henderson for 20 yards, which set up a 26-yard Paulo Henriques field goal to give the Tigers a 16-10 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
Defensive lineman Frank Trotter stripped the ball from Cato's hands as he was sacked by Tommy Walker and Johnnie Farms and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 22-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. But Marshall wide receiver Andre Booker returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards to the Memphis 21 and Tron Martinez ran it the rest of the way for a touchdown on the following play to bring the Thundering Herd within five points with 11 minutes left in the game. Trotter finished with six total tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and the fumble recovery for a touchdown.
The Herd scored again mid-way through the fourth quarter on a 19-yard Travon Van rush to put Marshall ahead 23-22, but they failed to get the two point conversion. The Marshall defense held Memphis from moving the ball down the field on the following drive and forced the Tigers to turn the ball over on downs.
The Tigers regained hope when Mitch Huelsing recovered a Marshall fumble at the Memphis 24 with 1:12 left in the game. Summerlin connected again with Rehrer for 18 yards to mid field, but the Tigers turned the ball over on downs to end the game after driving to midfield. Rehrer finished the game with a career-high 91 yards on nine receptions, while Wright extended his receiving streak to 11 games.
Memphis wraps up its season next Saturday, Nov. 26, as it travels to Hattiesburg, Miss. for a showdown in the "Black and Blue" rivalry with Southern Miss. Game time is slated for 3 p.m. on CSS.