Tigers

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports -

De­spite fans be­ing dis­ap­pointed with this sea­son, the Tigers are still go­ing to a bowl game for a fifth straight year. Only Hous­ton, with six, has a longer bowl streak among AAC teams.

Norvell talked this week about how im­por­tant it was to send the se­niors out with a bowl game.

"I never thought it'd come to this," line­backer Jack­son Dil­lon said, "But I knew we had to put in a lot of work. Now that's just the ex­pec­ta­tion."

Dil­lon and Sam Craft, both sixth-year se­niors, are the only Tigers play­ers who were around for a sea­son not end­ing in a bowl game.

The de­fense shows up

Mem­phis hasn’t had a de­fen­sive per­for­mance to be proud of since UConn a month ago. That changed Satur­day.

Over the bye week, the Tigers in­stalled a new nickel pack­age that fea­tured Dil­lon and Bryce Huff coming off the edges in­stead of Huff serv­ing as Dil­lon's backup.

The re­sult? Eleven tack­les for loss. Five sacks. Tulsa rush­ing for a sea­son­low 112 yards. Austin Hall forced a fum­ble that he re­cov­ered.

Pop Wil­liams has a day to re­mem­ber

Not only did Wil­liams have his first ca­reer re­turn touch­down, he also caught a 1-yard score for the Tigers' first touch­down of the day.

The cel­e­bra­tion left him over­whelmed and grate­ful.

"It made me feel good and feel like my team rec­og­nizes my hard work that I wanted to get a punt re­turn to the house," Wil­liams said. "They block their butts off for me and I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate them for that."

Mem­phis' of­fense con­tin­ues to roll

A week af­ter put­ting up 59 points against ECU, the Tigers' of­fense con­tin­ued its tor­rid pace.

Mem­phis ran the ball 55 times with Dar­rell Hen­der­son lead­ing the way with 166 yards and two scores on 23 car­ries. Pa­trick Tay­lor added 96 rush­ing yards and a score on 20 car­ries

Da­monte Coxie con­tin­ued his hot streak with six catches for 110 yards, his third con­sec­u­tive 100-yard per­for­mance. Brady White had an­other steady per­for­mance with 184 yards and two touch­downs on 14-of-20 pass­ing.

Novem­ber con­tin­ues to be a great month

The Tigers are 8-1 in Novem­ber since Norvell's first sea­son in 2016. As bad as Oc­to­ber was with losses to UCF and Mis­souri, the Tigers have some mo­men­tum head­ing into their Fri­day night game at SMU.

"I think you see us start­ing to play our best foot­ball," Norvell said.

MARK WE­BER, THE COM­MER­CIAL AP­PEAL

Mem­phis re­ceiver Da­monte Coxie (mid­dle) makes a first down catch against the Tulsa de­fense dur­ing ac­tion on Satur­day.

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