Tigers End Season with 42-24 Win over Southern Miss
Nov. 24, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis football team (4-8, 4-4 C-USA) ended the 2012 season with their best offensive outing in 20 games, totaling nearly 450 yards of offense, to get their third-straight victory for the first time since 2008 and hand Southern Miss (0-12, 0-8 C-USA) a 42-24 loss.
USM got on the scoreboard first at the 8:06 mark with a 49-yard field goal by Corey Acosta after a fumble by the Tigers on a punt return. In Memphis' first drive of the game, the Tigers would get inside the Southern Miss 30 before the Golden Eagles held the Tigers on a fourth-and-one pass from Jacob Karam to Marcus Rucker.
After holding Southern Miss to a three-and-out on their next possession, Keiwone Malone returned the Peter Boehme punt 35 yards in to Golden Eagles' territory at the 34. With the Tigers looking at a third-and-six to begin the second quarter, Karam gained 15 yards on the ground to give Memphis a first-and-goal at the USM 4. One play later, Jai Steib got his fifth rushing touchdown of the season to put Memphis up 7-3 with 14:21 remaining in the half.
The Tigers defense continued to hold Southern Miss, getting the ball back to the offense less than two minutes later. The offense put together a 13-play, 89-yard touchdown drive to go up 14-3 with a one-yard touchdown pass from Karam to Alan Cross.
On USM's next possession, Lonnie Ballentine would recover a fumble from USM quarterback Arsenio Favor on the sack by Akeem Davis, giving Memphis the ball at the USM 35 with 4:21 to go in the first half. After converting a fourth-and -one, Jai Steib added 20 yards to his rushing total, including a 13-yard scamper into the endzone to give Memphis a 21-3 advantage with just over a minute remaining in the half.
After Memphis was called for roughing the kicker on a USM punt, USM added a touchdown with four seconds left in the half with a 16-yard pass from Hall to Jalen Richard to pull within 11 at 21-10 going into the half.
But the Tigers began the second half strong, as Bakari Hollier returned the kickoff 37 yards to the USM 49. On the third play from scrimmage, Karam connected with Tevin Jones for 38 yards to put the Tigers inside the USM 10-yard line at the nine. One play later, Brandon Hayes gave Memphis its third rushing touchdown of the evening, putting Memphis up 28-10 a minute and a half into the third quarter.
The Tigers defense held USM to its second three-and-out of the game on their next drive to get the ball back at their own 41. On the fourth play of the drive, Karam hit Cross for 38 yards to give Memphis a 35-10 lead just under ten minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Memphis continued to dominate on the defensive end, holding USM to four plays on its drive. The Tigers then took over on their 28 with Hayes and Steib moving the Tigers down the field with the running game. On the fifth play of the drive, Karam completed a 29-yard pass to Jones to put Memphis in the redzone. One play later, Hayes added his second touchdown of the game with an 11-yard run, pushing the Memphis lead to 42-10 with 5:21 to go in the third.
USM put together an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with a nine-yard pass from Anthony Alford to Quentin Pierce to make the score 42-17 with 14:01 to go. On the Tigers' next drive, Memphis was forced to punt for the first time in the game after a holding penalty erased a first-down run by Karam.
The Golden Eagles added their final touchdown of the game with a 9-play, 92-yard drive to cut the deficit to 42-24 at the 2:59 mark.
Karam finished 12-of-18 with 162 yards and two touchdowns, with Jones leading the Tigers with 88 receiving yards. On the ground, Hayes totaled 115 yards on 19 carries, while Steib added 89 yards on 16 attempts.