The Tigers clinched a third straight winning season by earning their seventh victory Friday night at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. Despite losing quarterback Riley Ferguson
in the first quarter, Memphis rolled over their longtime rivals to improve to 7-4 for the season (4-3 in American Athletic Conference play).
Ferguson appeared to hit his head on the turf after being sacked on the Tigers' second series of the game. Senior Jason Stewart
took over at quarterback and threw his first touchdown pass of the season, a short strike to tight end Joey Magnifico
early in the second quarter.
The Tigers reached a couple of significant scoring milestones. They surpassed 400 points for the third straight season after tallying such a figure only once before (2004). And senior kicker Jake Elliott
reached 100 points for his third straight season. Elliott has already broken the program records for career field goals (78) and points (426).
and Chris Morley
each intercepted Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore in the first quarter, setting up short scoring drives that gave Memphis a 13-0 lead. The Bearcats punted four times and lost a fumble in addition to the two first-half picks, contributing to a 27-0 Memphis lead at the break.
Stewart hit Anthony Miller
for a 22-yard touchdown early in the third quarter and the only remaining score came on a Moore-to-Devin Gray pass less than two minutes into the fourth quarter. The Bearcat touchdown ended a streak of 39 Cincinnati drives without reaching pay dirt.
Stewart completed 13 of 15 passes for 138 yards and the two touchdowns. Tailback Doroland Dorceus
ran for 66 yards and scored two touchdowns, giving him 24 in his Memphis career (fourth in Tiger history). The Memphis defense held Cincinnati to 242 yards for the game as the Bearcats fell to 3-8 on the season (1-6 in AAC play).
The victory establishes a new high for any three-year period in Tiger football history. Memphis has now won 26 games since the beginning of the 2014 season.
Next for the U of M will be Senior Day, the regular season finale against Houston next Friday at the Liberty Bowl. (Kickoff time for the game will be determined late Saturday night.) The Cougars are coming off a huge upset of 3rd-ranked Louisville Thursday night.