Defense Starts Strong, Offense Answers in Scrimmage

April 5, 2014


With Memphis' offense beginning Saturday's scrimmage with work in the red zone, the Tigers' defense set the tone early.

Rising senior safety Fritz Etienne had an interception while junior linebacker Leonard Pegues had a fumble recovery as the Tigers' offense opened working from the 10 yard line in as well as the 25 yard line. Later in the session senior cornerback Bakari Hollier had an interception while redshirt freshman Jamil Collins returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown.

"I was proud of the way the defense came out and started," said Memphis head coach Justin Fuente. "They forced the tempo. They were intense."

But Fuente added he was equally proud of how the offense responded.

"Since I have been here, they haven't been able to dig themselves out of a hole," he said. "They absolutely did that today and made some plays."

Memphis' No. 1 offense scored on two quick, 65-yard touchdown drives and also began work on two-minute drill with another score.

Brandon Hayes began the first scoring drive with a six-yard run and after a five-yard run by Sam Craft carried for five more. Paxton Lynch would hook up with Keiwon Malone for back-to-back completions of five and 28 yards and later tossed an 11-yard scoring strike to Craft.

On the next offensive series by the No. 1 unit, Lynch began a fast-paced series with an 11-yard pass to Kyle Wilson before a 21-yard Craft run. Lynch would then complete a 33-yard touchdown pass to Craft.

 "I think there was an overall sense of not panicking and not getting down which I have seen before," Fuente said of the offense's effort. "It was Paxton, Sam and Brandon. It was the offensive line. It was them just saying `Hey, we're okay. There's no reason for us to get down. But there is a reason for us to buckle up and go get something done. They absolutely did."

Saturday's scrimmage marked the 13th of 15 practice dates this spring. Memphis is slated to practice again on Thursday before the annual Blue-Gray Spring Game takes place Friday night at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Parking and admission to the Liberty Bowl Friday is free. For more details on all the activities planned around the game, click on the link below:

Blue-Gray Spring Game Fan Guide



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