Memphis and Navy played Saturday night like a pair of programs knock out of alignment by the coronavirus. In the lowest-scoring game Memphis has played since 1999, the Tigers came away with a victory thanks to a 26-yard field goal by senior kicker Riley Patterson in the fourth quarter. The three points proved to be just enough when Navy kicker Bijan Nichols pushed a 45-yard attempt just right of his target on the ensuing possession.
Quindell Johnson and the Memphis defense held firm.
With the win, Memphis improves to 6-2 for the season and 4-2 in the American Athletic Conference. After winning their first three league games, Navy has now lost three in a row and falls to 3-3 in the AAC (3-5 overall).
The Tigers' first road win of the season came ugly. In the first half, Memphis punted the ball three times, lost a fumble (by Tahj Washington after a lengthy gain), and saw a Patterson field-goal attempt from 52 yards sail right. Their only points came on a 14-yard scoring strike from senior quarterback Brady White
to junior receiver Calvin Austin
. That touchdown, late in the first quarter, tied the score at seven and would be the game's last tally before Patterson's game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore safety Quindell Johnson
came up big, particularly in the first half, ending one drive with a fourth-down tackle behind the line of scrimmage, then ending the next with an interception inside the Tigers' 20-yard line. Freshman linebacker Cole Mashburn
recovered a Navy fumble early in the fourth quarter to extinguish another Midshipman drive.
White completed 18 of 32 passes for 205 yards, leaving him within 100 yards of becoming only the second Memphis quarterback to top 10,000 for his career. Marquavius Weaver
led the Tiger ground game with merely 49 yards. (Dreke Clark sat out the game with an injury.) Washington caught four passes for 68 yards and senior tight end Sean Dykes had six catches for 47 yards.
The Tigers won despite gaining a total of only 280 yards, 38 fewer than Navy.
Memphis returns to the road next Saturday to face Tulane (5-5) in New Orleans. The Tigers are now a win away from an unprecedented seventh straight season with seven victories.