Tigers win easy over Georgia State
Big game for RB Henderson in Memphis win over Panthers
www.gotigersgo.com MEMPHIS, Tenn. – With each game, and each explosive carry, Darrell Henderson is doing his best to rekindle memories of the greatest running back in University of Memphis history.
In Friday night's 59-22 victory over Georgia State at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Henderson certainly played the role of DeAngelo Williams.
Accomplishing something that hadn't been done since 2005 – Williams' senior season – Henderson rushed for a career-high 233 yards and two touchdowns.
Henderson became the first Tiger running back since Williams to surpass 200 yards in back-to-back games. Henderson rushed for 212 yards last weekend at Navy. Williams rushed for 200 or more yards in three straight games in 2005, a school record.
'(Williams) did a lot for this university,' Henderson said. 'To be mentioned with him is big-time to me.'
Henderson rushed for touchdowns of 61 and 54 yards and finished the night averaging 16.6 yards per carry. Quarterback Brady White passed for five touchdowns for the second time this season to complement Henderson.
White completed 19 of 26 passes for 269 yards.
'I love it,' White said, when asked about having Henderson lined up behind him. 'It makes my job easy. You just hand the ball off and watch him run to the end zone. It's been a huge help to have that guy in your backfield.'
With the win, the Tigers (2-1) eased the pain from last weekend's heartbreaking 22-21 American Athletic Conference loss at Navy, a game in which Memphis led 21-9 in the third quarter.
'I thought our guys' mindset, their approach, the way they prepared for this week was what you'd hope for,' Memphis coach Mike Norvell said. 'It's an expectation within our program that when you get knocked down, you've got to pick yourself back up.
All in all, I thought it was a great win.'
Georgia State (1-2) and Memphis were meeting for the first time. A game between the Panthers and Tigers last year in Atlanta was canceled to allow for a makeup AAC game between Memphis and UCF – postponed by Hurricane Irma – to be played.
The Tigers finished with 679 yards, including 410 rushing, the most yards gained on the ground by the UofM since 1972.
Freshman Kenny Gainwell added 80 rushing yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Receiver Damonte Coxie led the Tigers with six catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. The receptions, yardage and TDs were career-bests for the sophomore.
Much like they did in their opener against Mercer, the Tigers enjoyed a huge advantage at the half. The Tigers led, 38-10, after amassing 17 first downs and 387 yards Memphis built a 21-3 lead in the first quarter behind the power and speed of Henderson and the accuracy of White.
Henderson rushed for 101 yards and a 54 yard touchdown in the quarter, while White completed six of eight passes for 76 yards.
In the second quarter, Memphis added 17 points with White connecting on touchdown passes of 21 yards to Coxie – his second touchdown catch of the game – and 11 yards to Antonio Gibson. On the 65-yard drive the ended with Gibson's TD, Henderson rushed for 53 of the yards.
At the half, White was 11 of 16 for 185 yards and four touchdowns, while Henderson had 173 yards rushing on 11 carries, a 15.5 average per attempt.
In the second half, the Tigers added Henderson's 61-yard TD run and Gainwell's 72-yarder, while White passed 11 yards to Mechane Slade for another score.
Georgia State had 177 yards at the half, scoring its only touchdown on a 1yard run by quarterback Dan Ellington, a native of Olive Branch, Miss. The Panthers finished with 312 yards and Ellington passed for 107.
Defensively, the Tigers finished with eight tackles for loss, including two sacks from Bryce Huff.
The Tigers remain at home next weekend to play South Alabama.
By Phil Stukenborg