MONTGOMERY – Memphis senior quarterback Brady White threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers, and the Tigers overcame three turnovers in a 25-10 win over Florida Atlantic in the inaugural Montgomery Bowl at historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala.
White, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, completed 22-of-34 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw one interception.
“One of the things that was able to help us was to get the running game going a little early,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said. “I think it was finding consistency and a rhythm in all three phases. I think we were able to get a little bit of that at times tonight (and) … execute at a higher level. That’s a fantastic FAU defense.”
White, a sixth-year senior who began his career Arizona State, went 13-for-15 for 158 yards on the Tigers’ three touchdown drives. His favorite targets were a pair of freshman receivers Tahj Washington and Javon Ivory, who combined for 15 catches in the win. Washington caught eight passes for 105 yards, while Ivory added seven catches for 126 yards and one score.
Junior receiver Calvin Austin caught three passes for 28 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter that slowed down FAU’s momentum. Senior defensive lineman Joseph Dorceus, who lined up in the backfield on the goal-line, caught a 2-yard touchdown pass for the Tigers.
Memphis (8-3) led 18-0 at halftime but had to rely on the defense in the second half after a pair of costly turnovers.
FAU (5-4) forced three turnovers but only converted for three points. The Owls only scored one touchdown in four red zone possessions.
“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had,” FAU head coach Willie Taggart said. “We forced three turnovers and only came away with three points. You can’t beat a team like Memphis when you don’t take advantage of the opportunities. We moved the ball, we just didn’t score.”
Florida Atlantic (5-4) scored on its first possession of the third quarter to cut the deficit to 18-7. The Owls marched 73 yards in 10 plays, capped by Nick Tronti’s 3-yard pass to TJ Chase in the corner of the end zone.
On the ensuing kickoff, Memphis redshirt freshman tight end Chase Preiskorn fumbled the kickoff at the Tigers 24-yard line. FAU junior Kelvin Dean, Jr., pounced on the loose football giving FAU great field position at the UM 24. Six plays only netted 16 yards and FAU had to settle for 27-yard field goal by Vladimir Rivas to cut the deficit to 18-10.
Memphis answered as White led a 7-play, 75-yard on its next possession to extend the lead. Facing a third-and-10 from his own 37, White hooked up with Ivory on a 51-yard catch and run that put the Tigers at the FAU 12-yard line. Two plays later, White threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Austin to give the Tigers a 25-10 lead.
The Tigers fumbled on its next possession giving the Owls the ball at the Memphis 33-ayrd line. FAU moved 30 yards to the Tigers 3-yard line, but four straight runs ended with a loss of down at the Tigers 5-yard line. Rodney Owens and Tyrez Lindsey were credited with the stop of Tronti on the fourth-down run.
Memphis ran almost six minutes off the clock before a punt. FAU took over at its own 20-yard line and moved to the Memphis 17 yard line in 10 plays before an interception by Thomas Pickens at the 1-yard line sealed the win.
Memphis scored on three of five first half possessions to take an 18-0 lead into the dressing room
The Tigers marched 53 yards in 10 plays on its opening possession to take a 3-0 lead. White completed three of his first four passes taking the Tigers from their own 12 to the FAU 35-yard line. On fourth-and-13, Memphis senior kicker Riley Patterson drilled 53-yard field for the first points in Montgomery Bowl history.
Patterson, who set the all-time NCAA bowl record with six field goals in the 2019 Cotton Bowl, recorded the longest field goal in the history of the 98-year-old stadium, which has hosted Alabama and Auburn games over its existence as well as 63 Blue-Gray college all-star games.
Memphis stretched the lead to 10-0 on its next possession. White directed the Tigers to an 8-play, 52-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Ivory. White was a perfect 5-for-5 for 54 yards on the drive. Ivory caught three passes for 34 yards on the drive.
After a missed field goal and an interception, Memphis found its rhythm again on offense to score on its final drive of the half.
Following an FAU punt, Memphis took over the Owls 42-yard line. The Tigers marched 58 yards in 10 plays for its second touchdown of the half. Facing second-and-goal at the 2-yard line, Memphis sent fifth-year senior defensive lineman Joseph Dorceus into the game as a blocking back. White threw a 2-yard TD pass to his big blocking back to give the Tigers a 16-0 lead. The Tigers then went for two as Preston Brady, the holder on extra points, flipped the ball to John Hassell, who ran in conversion to give the Tigers an 18-0 halftime lead.