Tigers take over, knock off SEC foe

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS -

mem­phis — Pax­ton Lynch and the up­start Mem­phis Tigers showed that their high­scor­ing of­fense can work against any­body.

Even a na­tion­ally ranked op­po­nent from the mighty South­east­ern Con­fer­ence.

Lynch threw for 384 yards and three touch­downs to lead Mem­phis over No. 13 Mis­sis­sippi, 37-24, in a con­vinc­ing vic­tory that showed the Tigers might just be the best team in the coun­try that isn’t in a Power Five con­fer­ence.

Mem­phis (6-0) has won 13 straight games dat­ing to last sea­son, which is the third-longest streak in the na­tion. It was the first win for the Tigers over a ranked op­po­nent since 1996.

Mis­sis­sippi (5-2) jumped out to a 14-0 lead less than six min­utes into the game — partly thanks to a 68-yard touch­down pass by wide re­ceiver Laquon Tread­well on a trick play — but Mem­phis re­sponded with 31 straight points to go up by 17 in the third quar­ter.

“We got down early, and there were a cou­ple of long faces on the side­line, but we knew we had to keep plug­ging away,” Lynch said. “We knew early in the game we were mov­ing the ball on them.”

The rank­ings may say this game was an up­set, but the Tigers didn’t ap­pear over­matched.

The Rebels were able to pull within 31-24 later in the third quar­ter, but they could get no closer. Tread­well caught a school-record 14 passes for 144 yards and a touch­down.

The 6-foot-7, 245-pound Lynch was su­perb, do­ing what­ever he wanted against the Rebels’ sec­ondary. He com­pleted 39 of 53 passes, help­ing the Tigers re­group fol­low­ing the rough start.

It helped that he had plenty of time to throw. When the game was over, ju­bi­lant fans poured onto the field to cel­e­brate. Se­cu­rity guarded the goal posts, and fans took self­ies with play­ers.

Lynch — who else? — was the main at­trac­tion.

“I got hit harder in that pile than I did the whole game with all those fans smack­ing me on top of the head,” Lynch said.

An­thony Miller was Lynch’s fa­vorite tar­get, catch­ing 10 passes for 132 yards and a touch­down.

Mem­phis Coach Justin Fuente was pleased with the way his team re­sponded to the early ad­ver­sity.

“In­vari­ably when you’ve got a young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced team, they get out there and try to do more than they’re sup­posed to,” Fuente said. “They set­tled down and made some plays.”

For Mis­sis­sippi, Chad Kelly com­pleted 33 of 47 passes for 372 yards, two touch­downs and two in­ter­cep­tions.

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