The Tigers ended a 16-game losing streak in Conference USA play this afternoon in New Orleans, beating the Tulane Green Wave at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game ended a four-game losing streak for Memphis (now 2-6) and extended Tulane's downward spiral. The Green Wave has lost five in a row, and is now 2-6 after the resignation last week of head coach Bob Toledo.
Freshman quarterback Taylor Reed returned to the starting lineup for Memphis and tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Justin Henderson to open the scoring five minutes into the game. The Tigers took a 14-10 lead into halftime — the second straight game the Tigers led at the break — on the strength of another Reed touchdown pass, a 19-yarder to Tannar Rehrer just over five minutes into the second quarter.
The U of M fell behind early in the third quarter when Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin hit Wilson Van Hooser for 29 yards and a 17-14 lead. But just when momentum seemed in the pocket of the home team, Tiger defensive back Bobby McCain intercepted a Griffin pass and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown and a 20-17 lead Memphis would not relinquish. (Paulo Henriques' extra-point attempt was blocked, the first of two he missed.) Reed scored on a sneak late in the third quarter and Billy Foster took a reverse 22 yards with 6:55 to play in the game for the final touchdown.
The victory is the Tigers' first over a Football Bowl Subdivision team this season.
Reed completed 14 of 26 passes for 213 yards, two touchdowns and a single interception. Foster gained 58 yards rushing on 15 carries. Memphis prevailed despite giving up 459 yards while accumulating only 289. Three Tulane turnovers (the most significant being McCain's interception) made the difference.
The Tigers travel to Orlando next week to face UCF, a team upset Thursday night by UAB.