Tigers take over, knock off SEC foe
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.