The University of Memphis sent 16 seniors out with a victory, a first since 2008. The Class of 2012 finished their careers with a three-game winning streak, the first three-game win streak since September and early October of 2008 and the first three-game conference win streak since the last three C-USA games of the 2007 season.
This year marks just the fifth time overall but the second straight week in which the University of Memphis men’s basketball and football teams won on the same date. Earlier today, the Tiger basketball team defeated Northern Iowa 52-47 at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Last week, Memphis’ football team defeated UAB 46-9 while the basketball team defeated Samford 65-54. Prior to the 2012 season, the last time the University of Memphis football and men’s basketball teams won on the same date came Nov. 15, 1995 with the Tiger football team defeating Louisville 21-20 at home while basketball posted a 75-74 overtime victory over Louisiana-Monroe at The Pyramid. The other two sweeps came in 1982 and 1950.
Memphis’ 42 points scored against Southern Miss ties for the most points scored in 63 meetings against USM. Memphis beat the Golden Eagles 42-14 in Memphis in 1977.
This is the first time since 2004 (41-14 win vs Houston; 49-24 win vs Tulane) that the Tigers scored 40+ points in consecutive games.
In the last two weeks, Memphis has scored 21 points in three of eight quarters and put 21 points on the board today in both the second and third quarters. Before the streak, the Tigers hadn’t scored 21 points in a quarter since Sept. 19, 2009 against UT Martin.
Memphis combined for a season best 437 yards total offense. It is the most yards since the Tigers had 445 against Austin Peay in 2011.
Memphis had four rushing touchdowns, marking the second straight game to score at least three touchdown on the ground and third time during the 2012 season. The last time the Tigers has four rushing TDs in a game came against Tulsa in 2009.
Memphis took a 14-3 lead with 5:24 to play in the first half, driving 89 yards on 13 plays which consumed 7:07. It was the third-longest drive by yardage and second-longest by time consumed.
Alan Cross capped the Tigers’ second scoring drive with a one-yard touchdown run. The score marked the second straight game in which Cross had caught a touchdown pass. Cross would go on to catch a 38-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, to give him his first multi-touchdown game. Cross now has five touchdown receptions this season, a team high. He finished the game with a career high 49 yards receiving on three catches.
Marcus Rucker finished his career ranked sixth in all-time receiving yards. Rucker caught two passes for 13 yards against Southern Miss. During the game, he passed Richie Floyd (1995-98) for sixth. Rucker finished his career with 1,665 yards. Floyd had 1,654 yards during his career.
Jai Steib registered his second, multi-touchdown game with runs of four and 13 yards in the second quarter. He leads the team with six rushing touchdowns on the season. He finished the game with a career high 89 yards rushing on 16 attempts.
Brandon Hayes scored on a nine-yard touchdown run early in the second half and added an 11-yard scoring run later in the third quarter, giving him five rushing touchdowns in the past two games. Hayes rushed for 100-plus yards for the second straight week. He had 19 carries for 115 yards and two scores.
Jacob Karam completed 12-of-18 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Seven of Karam’s 14 touchdown passes this season have come in the last three games. Karam finished his first season with the Tigers passing for 1,895 yards.
Tevin Jones caught four passes for a career-high 88 yards to lead the team.
Memphis’ offense converted on 1-of-2 fourth-down plays against Southern Miss. The Tigers converted fourth-down plays in eight of 12 games in 2012, finishing the season 20-for-27 on fourth-down plays (.741).
The Tigers had over 200 yards rushing for the third game this season and finished with a season high 275 yards on 44 carries
Kendrick Golden was credited with his first career quarterback sack on Southern Miss’ first offensive series. The play resulted in a four-yard loss.
After the Tigers did not have any quarterback sacks in the first three games of the season, the Southern Miss game marked the …….. fifth straight game the team had multiple quarterback sacks.
Cannon Smith registered his second pass breakup of the season and eighth of his career.
Akeem Davis forced his second fumble of the season and fifth of his career. The force set up a short, touchdown drive to put the Tigers out in front 21-3. Davis was credited with a quarterback sack on the force play and finished his final game as a Tiger with a team high six tackles including 2.5 for lost yardage.
Memphis recorded a season high 10 tackles for loss. It was the first time the defense has had 10 or more TFLs since recording 13 against Arkansas State in 2011.
The defense held Southern Miss to 288 total yards, marking the third-straight game and fourth time this season the Tigers have held the opponent to under 300 yards.
The defense also held the Golden Eagles to 95 yards rushing, marking the fourth-straight game and fifth time this season the Tigers have held the opponent to under 100 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
After fumbling on his first punt return (26 yards), Memphis return man Keiwone Malone went on to have four returns for 67 yards. Malone’s second return went for 35 yards and gave the Tigers the ball at the USM 34.
Paulo Henriques had seven of his four kickoffs fall into the end zone for touchbacks. Memphis entered the game as one of the nation’s leaders in touchback percentage and finished the season with 36 of his 54 kickoffs going for touchbacks (67%).
Tom Hornsey had his 15th punt of the season downed inside the 10. He had just one punt in the game for 36 yards, making him the first Memphis player to eclipse 10,000 yards punting in his career. Hornsey has 235 punts for 10,015 yards.
Memphis had just one punt in the game, marking the first time since recording just one against Tulane in 2008.