Followers of University of Memphis football this season have become accustomed to close games. Unfortunately, most of those have been punctuated with a collapse by the Tigers and an eventual loss.
This past weekend, Memphis (2-6) was poised to win its first conference game, traveling to Tampa to take on the University of South Florida Bulls. After beating UT-Martin the previous week, the Tigers were looking to string together wins for the first time this year.
The storyline headed into the game was that both teams would be starting a freshman quarterback. So the question was not which QB would win the game for his team, but which one would make fewer mistakes.
Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch only completed 6 passes in the entire game. Out of context, that sounds terrible. However, Lynch only attempted 13 passes and was able to minimize his mistakes, throwing one interception.
USF's freshman quarterback, Mike White, didn't fare so well against the Memphis defense. He completed 18 of 34 passes, but his downfall was 4 interceptions.
The turnovers led to Memphis taking control and coming away with a dominating 23-10 victory. More importantly, the Tigers (3-6) recorded their first official American Athletic Conference win.
Standouts for Memphis included defensive back Bobby McCain, defensive end Martin Ifedi and kicker Jake Elliot.
Bobby McCain picked off three passes and returned one of those for a touchdown. Ifedi racked two quarterback sacks moving him to 10.5 on the season and 19 in his career.
Freshman kicker Elliot went 3 for 3 in field goals attempts, including a career long 56-yarder that set a new school record and also tied the longest made field goal in Division-1 football this year. Elliot improved to 14 of 15 on the season.
The Tigers now face their toughest test of the season, a road game against Louisville. The Cardinals are 9-1 this year and could easily be competing for a BCS bowl game, if it wasn't for a mid-season loss to UCF.
Memphis hasn't been blown out all year. In fact, they have played well against the better AAC teams. Will they continue to show progress this weekend against their old rival Louisville? Or maybe even shock the world and come away with a W?