Tigers lose to Navy in late collapse in the rain
Memphis fumbles its way to loss against Midshipmen
It was a rain-soaked game full of sloppy, but hardhitting action that ultimately saw the Tigers’ chances of victory slip away.
Memphis took on Navy is what was projected to be an important test of both teams’ skill sets early int the season. It was the AAC conference opener for both squads.
As the rain poured in Annapolis, both teams slogged their way up and down the field, but it was Navy who ultimately triumphed, handing Memphis a 22-21 loss capped by the Midshipmen’s Zach Abey completing a three-yard touchdown run with 2:37 left. The extra point being the difference, as the Tigers could not get close enoug to put any more points on the board before time elapsed.
The Tigers turned the ball over four times, but Memphis still had a 21-9 lead at the start of the fourth quarter until a fumble by Patrick Taylor gave Navy the momentum it needed.
'We had some critical mistakes that we’ve got to get fixed,' Tigers coach Mike Norvell said in the postgame press conference. 'Playing a quality opponent on the road in tough conditions, you’ve got to be able to rely on those little things.'
Memphis (378 yards) outgained Navy (316) in total offensive yardage, but the costly turnovers were the difference maker.
Darrell Henderson was the offensive standout for the Tigers, with a pair of long runs (78 and 59 yards) for touchdowns in the third quarter. The running game became a key part of the offense with rain making passing and receiving difficult.
Memphis held Navy to a lone field goal after an early Memphis fumble, but as the Tigers’ defense tired, Navy mounted a comeback.
Memphis had the ball and time on the clock, but the team’s last drive did not produce any points.
Henderson got the ball three straight plays — an 18-yard catch, a 15-yard run, and a 6-yard run — but could get no closer. A sack on fourth down sealed the win for Navy.
Memphis (1-1) has a short turnaround this week, as they will host Georgia State (1-1) at the Liberty Bowl this Friday at 6 p.m.
By the Times Sports Staff