The 23rd-ranked Memphis Tigers scored a pair of touchdowns within nine seconds of playing time after ULM closed within six points in the fourth quarter and improved to 5-0 with a victory at Monroe, Louisiana, Saturday afternoon. Freshman tailback Kenneth Gainwell
scampered 68 yards for his second touchdown of the game with 6:16 left in the contest to give Memphis a 45-33 lead. On the Warhawks' ensuing possession, Tiger safety La'Andre Thomas
intercepted a Caleb Evans pass and returned it 33 yards for the game-clinching score.
With senior running back Patrick Taylor sidelined for a fourth straight game, Gainwell lived up to his name with 210 yards rushing (on just 14 carries), his third straight contest with at least 100 yards on the ground. He had a 40-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter that gave Memphis a 14-3 lead.
The Tiger defense sustained its first real assault of the season, allowing 575 yards to ULM and surrendering 100 yards rushing to a pair of Warhawk ball-carriers (Josh Johnson and Evans). But Memphis averaged 8.9 yards per play in gaining 535 yards and scoring on six of its first eight possessions.
Immediately after a short touchdown pass from Brady White
to tight end Kameron Wilson
gave the Tigers a 21-10 lead in the second quarter, Memphis kicker Riley Patterson
recovered his own onside kick. Kylan Watkins
completed the next drive with a 14-yard touchdown run and the Tigers converted a two point play for a 29-10 lead.
ULM scored before halftime to reduce the Memphis lead to 12 points (29-17) at the break, but was unable to capitalize on an interception of White in the fourth quarter — the Tigers leading 39-26 at the time — turning the ball over to Memphis on downs within the red zone. A 36-yard touchdown pass from Evans to Josh Pederson made the scored 39-33 with 6:31 to play before Gainwell's dash restored a double-digit lead for the Tigers.
White completed 15 of 23 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns (with the one interception). Eight different Tigers caught passes with Antonio Gibson
and Damonte Coxie
each scoring a touchdown.
The Tigers' remaining seven-game schedule will be entirely within the American Athletic Conference, starting next Saturday when they travel to Temple. The Owls are 4-1 and, like Memphis, 1-0 in AAC play.