threw four touchdown passes and Rodney Owens
intercepted a pair of passes by Temple quarterback Anthony Russo Saturday afternoon at the Liberty Bowl to help the Memphis Tigers avenge their only regular-season loss of 2019. Playing in conditions more common to Philadelphia this time of year, the Tigers overcame a pair of first-half turnovers and came from behind twice on the scoreboard to improve to 3-1 for the season and 2-1 in American Athletic Conference play. The Owls fall to 1-2 with the loss.
Joe Murphy/Memphis Athletics
White connected with Tahj Washington
to finish an 80-yard drive with 5:29 left in the first quarter to give Memphis a 7-0 lead. But fumbles on the Tigers' next two possessions gave the ball to Temple and Owls capitalized, taking a 9-7 lead midway through the second quarter on a touchdown pass from Russo to Jadan Blue (Blue's first of three scores in the game). Memphis linebacker Xavier Cullens
blocked the extra-point attempt.
Senior kicker Riley Patterson
connected on a 42-yard field goal to regain the lead for Memphis (10-9) with 3:34 left in the second quarter, but Temple responded with another touchdown drive, capped by a 10-yard pass from Russo to Branden Mack for a 15-10 Owls lead at the half.
The Tigers scored 17 points in the first nine minutes of the third quarter, White hitting Calvin Austin
for a 65-yard touchdown then finding Washington again (for 26 yards) for a 27-15 lead. Russo found Blue for a 32-yard scoring strike to close the Tiger advantage to 27-22 late in the third quarter.
Following Owens's second interception early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers converted a fourth-and-six attempt with a completion from White to Austin. White then found freshman Javon Ivory
for a seven-yard touchdown and a 34-22 lead. Blue's third touchdown of the contest closed the lead to five points (34-29), but the Memphis defense forced punts on consecutive Temple possessions. When Kylan Watkins
dashed 15 yards to the end zone with just over two minutes to play, the Tigers clinched their second consecutive win in the first back-to-back weekends of play they've enjoyed this season.
White completed 17 of 36 passes for 313 yards and now has 76 touchdown passes for his Tiger career, five shy of Danny Wimprine's program record. Austin compiled 184 yards on his six catches and sophomore tailback Dreke Clark
rushed for 106 yards on 22 carries. Washington caught five passes for 77 yards.
The Tigers face perhaps their biggest test of the season next Saturday when they travel to Cincinnati to face the 9th-ranked Bearcats. (Cincinnati plays at SMU Saturday night.) The game will be a rematch of last season's AAC championship, a battle won by Memphis at the Liberty Bowl.