White, Memphis hold off Arkansas State in opener
Brady White threw for 275 yards and four touchdowns Saturday night as Memphis pulled away from visiting Arkansas State in the second half for a 37-24 nonconference win in each team’s season opener.
Rodrigues Clark added 105 yards and a score on 20 carries for the Tigers, who rolled up 502 total yards and clamped down on the Red Wolves after yielding a couple of long touchdown drives in the first quarter.
Memphis led just 21-17 early in the third quarter after Arkansas State turned White’s only interception into a 28-yard field goal by Blake Grupe. But the Red Wolves gambled on an onside kick and it came up snake eyes when the Tigers’ Damonte Coxie recovered at midfield.
Seven plays later, Coxie caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from White for a 27-17 lead with 8:03 left in the third. An Arkansas State fumble set up Memphis’ next drive at the Red Wolves’ 47-yard line, and White found Sean Dykes for a 7-yard scoring strike at the 3:33 mark. Dykes finished with 10 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
Riley Patterson added a 26-yard field goal with 11:43 left in the game.
Arkansas State entered as a 19-point underdog, but looked every bit like a team with designs on beating the defending American Athletic Conference champs. The Red Wolves rattled off 75- and 84-yard touchdown marches to earn a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ryan Graham scored from the 1 less than 4 1/2 minutes in. After Dykes tied the game with his first touchdown, a 12-yard scoring grab, Isaiah Azubuike added his own 1-yard touchdown run at the 1:05 mark. Azubuike was originally ruled down inside the 1 before replay overturned the call on the field.
Clark tied the game just 2:11 into the second quarter with a 14-yard burst up the middle. Then White found Calvin Austin on a 9-yard strike just 24 seconds before the half to make it 21-14.
Arkansas State used two quarterbacks. Logan Bonner started and completed 14 of 23 passes for 133 yards with a late score and two interceptions. Layne Hatcher was 13 of 20 for 166 yards.
–Field Level Media