Memphis 26, Florida Atlantic 10. The 10 ten things you need to know about the Memphis win over Florida Atlantic in the Montgomery Bowl.
Memphis 26, Florida Atlantic 10: Montgomery Bowl
10. Florida Atlantic got really, really close to making this interesting. It had plenty of chances to come up with late scores, but the Memphis defense held on a goal line stand, came up with a pick in the final minutes, and the 25-10 score looked a wee bit worse than it actually was. Emphasis on the word wee, because …
9. Okay, Memphis should’ve made this a blowout. The Tigers outgained the Owls 469 yards to 290 and had several opportunities to pull away further, but three turnovers – the conditions weren’t perfect, to be fair – made this a wee bit dramatic, at least for those who sat through the entire game.
8. The American Athletic Conference DESPERATELY needed this. Memphis was around a double-digit favorite depending on where you choose to invest, but after Tulane and UCF lost their respective bowls in ugly fashion the day before, and with Houston expected to miss around 20 players for its date with Hawaii the day after the Montgomery Bowl, the league couldn’t afford another clunker.
7. Memphis wasn’t great, but it got the job done. It was a business-like effort, it got up early, and there wasn’t any real drama. However, give the Tigers credit for making the key plays to prevent FAU from getting into a position for there to be any real drama. It also helped that …
6. The Tiger offense and got out of a few jams. It managed to go on a few long drives when needed to keep the momentum on its side – Memphis had an 18-0 lead at halftime – and rumbled late with a few good runs to close it out. The ground game averaged over five yards per carry and finished with 185 yards against the solid Owl D.
5. That’s the Florida Atlantic offense. It it struggled all year, only scoring against the truly awful defenses. The running game wasn’t awful – James Charles ran for 82 yards – but Nick Tronti isn’t the type of quarterback who’ll bomb away for 300 yards. He completed 16-of-32 passes for 146 yards with a touchdown and a pick, and he ran for 33 yards, but there were a few plays that didn’t click that could’ve been gamechangers.
4. Willie Taggart still hasn’t won a bowl game. It’s one of the stranger trivia tidbits considering all of his success, but he left WKU for USF just before a bowl, lost his one bowl appearance at USF and left before the second, and he left Oregon for Florida State before the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl. Those wins will come – he’s a master of rebuilding programs – and this year’s team had to undergo an overhaul.
— Memphis Football (@MemphisFB) December 24, 2020
3. It might not have been an American Athletic Conference championship season under Ryan Silverfield, and Memphis might not have played in a New Year’s Six game, but it’s a bowl win for the program for the first time since taking out BYU in the 2014 Miami Beach, and it’s the second win in the last nine tries going back to 2005. The Tigers ended this year winning five games in the last six in an interesting run.
2. Defense hasn’t really been a thing around Memphis football over the years, but up 25-10, it had to hold on after a fumble that led to FAU getting down to the Tiger 3. It did, coming up with a 4th-and-1 stop. With just over four minutes to play, Memphis got an interception by Thomas Pickens at the goal line to finish allowing just 290 yards of total FAU offense and ten points.
1. Brady White was a strong recruit for Arizona State, threw 49 passes, and left for Memphis. All he did in his Tiger career was throw for 10,690 yards and 90 touchdowns, and for his entire college experience, he threw for 10,949 yards to close out as the 73rd all-time yardage leader in passing. After this game, he passed up Marcus Mariota, Matt Leinart, Danny Wuerffel and Ben Roethlisberger on the all-time NCAA yardage list.
He led the way to an American Athletic Conference championship, a Cotton Bowl appearance, and another trip to the AAC title game. He was fine, throwing for 284 yards and three touchdowns with a pick in his final game, leading the Tigers to an eight-win season and a bowl victory.