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Memphis clinches AAC West with 66-45 win over SMU

The Tigers could not be stopped by the Mustangs defense, and set multiple records on their way to a win.

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly didn’t start well for the Memphis Tigers. SMU’s 10-0 start was aided by a Riley Ferguson interception, and there were many who were uncertain about how this game would go.

Luckily, Ferguson and the offense settled down and locked into their game plan, and a shootout ensued. The score at halftime was 31-24, and the offensive firepower just continued in the second half. It was Memphis’ running game that really made an impact, and it wasn’t just the running backs. Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor Jr. were explosive, and the two combined for 259 yards and four touchdowns Even Ferguson got in on the action, rushing for 29 yards and three more scores. His second touchdown was a thing of beauty.

The Tigers set a school record for rushing touchdowns in a game (7), with Henderson and Taylor leading the way. SMU couldn’t stop anything the Tigers did on the ground, and didn’t fare much better defendeing the pass. Anthony Miller had his way with the SMU secondary, finishing with eight catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Miller’s performance made him the Memphis all-time leader in receptions.

Defenses took the day off, and it wasn’t just the Mustangs. Xavier Jones had a career day on the ground, rushing 20 times for 175 yards and two scores. Jones was the only player that had an above average game, unfortunately, and that wasn’t enough to win the game. Ben Hicks limited his turnovers, but made a handful of throws where he stared his receiver down. The Tigers defense didn’t make life easy for him, and did everything they could to eliminate his favorite targets. Trey Quinn and Courtland Sutton finished with just five catches for 89 yards, but had three touchdowns. The offense didn’t look terrible, but didn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Tigers.

It appeared that the Mustangs would control the game, but Memphis’ defense made a few stops early that changed the game. SMU never found an answer to stop the Tigers offense, and even all of their scoring wasn’t enough to catch up. Once Memphis got going, the Mustangs didn’t have a chance. The Tigers clinched the AAC West with the win, and will just have to wait until next week to find out their opponent. Many are hoping it’s UCF, but for now, they’re just happy to have a chance at winning the conference.