College football’s return brought plenty of excitement. With everything going on in the world, a season didn’t seem possible at one point, but it’s finally here. We were quickly reminded how much we appreciate having the game, but also that pandemic or not, teams need some time to get going. Memphis and Arkansas State weren’t any different. Both teams got off to sloppy starts, but it was the Tigers who came away with the win,
It became clear early on that it was both teams’ first games, as sloppy play highlighted the first half. Arkansas State took advantage of that early, testing the Tigers secondary.
Sylvonta Oliver burned twice on opening drive, one pass was overthrown and the other he was called for pass interference (he did make a nice interception in the third quarter, however). Arkansas State punched it in shortly after to go up 7-0. Receiver Jonathan Adams was targeted frequently, coming down with four catches for 44 yards, and a few more accurate throws could have resulted in a 100+ yard performance. The teams took turns struggling to gain momentum in the first half, but still managed to put some points on the board.
The final drive for the Tigers seemed to calm the offense down, with Brady White completing a handful of passes and making a big first down run to keep it alive. It was capped off with White finding Calvin Austin III in the back of the end zone to put the Tigers up 21-14 at halftime.
The start of the second half tilted in Memphis’ favor. Their first scoring drive featured a handful of consecutive runs followed by a play action pass from White to Damonte Coxie who was wide open in the end zone. Later in the third quarter, the Tigers let White go to work, and he once again used his arm to find Sean Dykes for another score to make it 34-17. From there, the Tigers essentially just held on, adding a field goal while Arkansas State scored a touchdown to give us the final score of 37-24.
Players of the Game
Arkansas State: WR Jonathan Adams Jr.
- Brady White was solid as expected.
- Memphis’ defense is decent, but has some holes to fill.
- Tight end Sean Dykes reminded everyone why he was a rising star for the Tigers before he got hurt.
- Arkansas State has their hands full with figuring out who will be their quarterback between Logan Bonner and Layne Hatcher.
- Wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr. will be a stud for the Red Wolves, but he needs a quarterback that can get him the football consistently.
- Memphis kicker Riley Patterson missed some kicks that were uncharacteristic. Granted, one was a 54-yard field goal, but he didn’t get good contact on the ball, missing wide left.