No. 16 Memphis beats Tulane 41-13 after another slow start
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The 16th-ranked Memphis Tigers kicked off to Tulane to start the game, then waited. And waited. And waited some more before finally getting the ball back with most of the first quarter gone.
Talk about cooling off.
Paxton Lynch threw for 343 yards and a touchdown and ran for 43 more as Memphis routed Tulane 41-13 Saturday night after falling behind 13-0 after the first 16 minutes.
''That long drive to start the game, it seemed like they had the ball for - I don't know what the actual numbers was - but eight or nine minutes, it seemed like,'' Memphis coach Justin Fuente said. ''But then once we kind of got settled in and developed a rhythm, we were able to run it inside and out a little more and have some success.''
Actually, Tulane held the ball for 11 minutes, 13 seconds on the Green Wave's opening drive. After trailing by two scores, the Tigers (8-0, 4-0 American Athletic Conference) answered with 41 straight points. This is the fifth game Memphis has trailed by at least 10 points this season.
Lynch said the Tigers were all warmed up and ready only to sit around for most of the first quarter.
''You have to stay locked in on the sideline and be ready to go when it's your turn,'' Lynch said.
Doroland Dorceus, Anthony Miller and Jarvis Cooper each ran for a TD, and Jake Elliott kicked three field goals as Memphis won its 15th straight game.
Only No. 1 Ohio State (21) and No. 5 TCU (16) have longer winning streaks than the Tigers.
Tulane (2-6, 1-4) lost its fourth straight overall and ninth in this series with redshirt senior quarterback Jordy Joseph making the first start of his career with Tanner Lee and Devin Powell both injured. Dontrell Hilliard ran for two TDs, including a 43-yarder, helping the Green Wave jump out to that lead.
But they haven't upset a ranked team since 1984, and Tulane lost its 40th straight against ranked opponents since that win over Vanderbilt despite what coach Curtis Johnson called a perfect opening drive.
''We just couldn't sustain it,'' Johnson said.
A week after setting a school record with 704 yards total offense against Tulsa, the Tigers outgained Tulane 581-270 after overcoming a sloppy start on a rainy night. Lynch was pulled with 7:06 left after throwing for 300 yards or more for the seventh straight game.
The Tigers allowed an opponent to score on the opening drive for the fifth time in six games this season. They also settled for field goals twice in the first half inside Tulane's 20, and Elliott missed his first attempt wide left on Memphis' first possession.
But Dillon Jackson blocked Andrew DiRocco's extra point after Tulane's first TD. Memphis also scored on two safeties.
The first came after Jackson stopped Hilliard for a 1-yard loss on third-and-2 late in the first half. Tulane snapped the punt over the head of punter Peter Picerelli, who finally chased the ball down in the end zone for a safety. Memphis settled for another field goal by Elliot on the ensuing free kick, and the kicker gave Memphis its first lead of the game at 15-12 just before halftime.
Jamarius Henderson caught a short pass from Lynch and took the ball 43 yards for a TD late in the third, giving Memphis a 25-13 lead. Tulane bobbled the kickoff and started at its own 1. Joseph threw the ball away under pressure from Tigers cornerback Chauncey Lanier, drawing a flag for grounding and Memphis' second safety of the game.
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