Antonio Gibson runs into end zone after reception. Gibson ended with one catch for 55 yards against Southern in the 55-24 win. (Frank Ramirez, The Daily Helmsman)
After what began as a rocky start, the Memphis Tigers pulled away with their second win of the season against the Southern University Jaguars. The Jaguars began with an opening statement by scoring on their very first possession of the game. However, the Tigers were able to finish strong with the Memphis offense improving from 364 yards (vs. Ole Miss) to 575 yards against Southern.
Following last week’s sloppy win, there was a lot of speculation on the Tigers’ ability to fill the shoes of RB Patrick Taylor (out for leg injury) along with the capability of their offense. Luckily for the Tigers, they were able to show their depth and ability to adjust without an important piece of the puzzle. RB/WR Kenny Gainwell stepped up to the plate proving that even with Taylor out, the Tigers still can compete at a high level. Gainwell scored 3 total touchdowns, including an impressive 46-yard touchdown.
Not only were the Tigers able to showcase that they are willing to pick up the slack, but they improved where they needed to. After last weeks concerning performance, QB Brady White improved from 172 yards (against Ole Miss) to 337 yards this week. One of the biggest concerns after the season opener was White’s ability to move the ball down the field. After his performance Saturday, he was able to show that his passing game has improved. With conference play beginning in a little under three weeks for the Tigers, they needed to make offensive adjustments. Offensive adjustments were exactly what showed. Even after much improvement, though, White has higher expectations for the upcoming weeks.
“I know that we can compete at a much higher level”, White said, “Every week, I just want to make sure I’m doing my job and make sure that I am performing at my highest levels”.
Following his performance on Saturday, White was named to the AAC Weekly Honor Roll for his achievements against Southern.
Coach Mike Norvell was less than impressed with his team's performance against Ole Miss, stating at some points he was "sick" reviewing the game. After this week's improvements, Norvell seemed much more optimistic about how the Tigers played and who they are becoming as a team. Norvell referred to the team's development as an “ever-flowing process” following Saturday’s victory:
“All in all, it was a good day. It was good for us to get another victory.”
The Tigers were able to prove that they have a lot more capability than their game conveyed.
“Like Coach Norvell said, it’s a team effort. And that is the great thing-we’ve got depth”.
Although it is uncertain when Patrick Taylor will return, the Tigers are ready to step up and fill the hole until he is healthy again.
"Patrick is going to be doubtful for this week. He's probably going to be (out) a couple of more weeks," Coach Norvell said on the status of Taylor.
The Tigers have their first road challenge this Saturday at South Alabama at 2:30 on ESPNU.