By Jacob Rice
The Memphis Tigers ended the 2020 year on a high note with a win in the first ever Montgomery Bowl.
The Tigers put together an effective effort to win their last game of the year. A balanced number of big plays from offense and defense gets the win and sends Memphis home with a new addition to the trophy case. Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said it was an honor to hoist a trophy with his student athletes.
"They will go down in history for their fight," Silverfield said. "It's an honor to coach these young men and I couldn't be more proud."
Memphis (8-3, 5-3 AAC) did what it took to beat the Florida Atlantic Owls 25-10. FAU (5-4, 4-2 C-USA) lost the first bowl game in their program's history. Memphis on the other hand ended a very lengthy series of bowl game losses.
Memphis started the game slowly, but steadily. The Tigers slowed pulled off good plays and eventually built a lead to distance themselves from FAU.
Memphis led 18-0 at halftime and they appeared to be in control of the game on the scoreboard and the stat sheet. It was the first time this season that Memphis held a team scoreless in the first half.
The Tigers led comfortably in total yards, passing yards, rushing yards, total plays, yards per play and time of possession. FAU had worse than a slow start, the Owls did not get passed the Memphis 47-yard line until after halftime.
Florida Atlantic started the third quarter off by scoring 10 unanswered points and cutting the deficit down to eight points. Memphis responded by scoring one more touchdown and built it to a 15-point lead. Neither team would score in the fourth quarter and the Tigers earned the win.
Memphis had a handful of great performances on offense. Brady White finished the game with 284 passing yards and three touchdowns.
White said it felt great to end the season as bowl game champs.
"Another piece of history was made tonight," White said. "I am extremely proud of our program and everything that it took to go into this year.
White left with a game ball and MVP of the game honors after the game concluded. White confirmed he is planning to play professionally, ending his record-breaking career at Memphis.
"My time here at Memphis has just been special," White said. "It's a special city, a special program."
Asa Martin led the rushing attack with nearly 100 rushing yards. Tahj Washington and Javon Ivory each ended the game with 100+ receiving yards. Ivory said it was great to end the year in the fashion they did.
"Just to finish the season off with a win is just indescribable," Ivory said.
It had been 2,193 days since the Memphis Tigers had last won a bowl game. The 2014 double-overtime victory over BYU was followed by five consecutive bowl game losses. That is all in the past now after Memphis entered their sixth straight bowl game and came away with a win.