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Top 5: Paxton Lynch’s greatest Tiger moments

<p>Former University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.</p>
Former University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.

Now that the Memphis Tiger football team’s spring practice has begun and the battle for the new starting quarterback is underway, it’s a good time to take a look back at former Tiger quarterback Paxton Lynch’s collegiate career, as he prepares for the upcoming NFL Draft April 28.

The three-year starter finished his career with 8,863 passing yards and 59 touchdown passes. He helped lead Memphis to 19 wins over the last two seasons, including a share of the 2014 American Athletic Conference title and a Miami Beach Bowl victory in 2014. Lynch’s stellar career not only places him as arguably the top quarterback in school history, but also one of the greatest players to play for the Blue and Gray.

Here are Lynch’s top five performances as a Tiger:

5. 44-41 victory over Bowling Green – Sept. 19, 2015

After going 2-0 to start the year after wins over Southeast Missouri State and Kansas, the Tigers were faced with their first real test of the season. They traveled to Bowling Green to take on veteran quarterback Matt Johnson and a stout Falcons squad. The Falcons had one of the most prolific offenses in the country. Luckily for Memphis, Lynch took this as a challenge and put together one of his best career games, posting three touchdown passes and 386 yards on a 72.5 percent completion percentage. Every time Johnson and the Falcons’ receivers connected for a big drive and score, Lynch would lead the Tigers downfield to match them, including a 48-yard bomb to wide receiver Tevin Jones to tie the game at 41 with 11:19 remaining in the game. Memphis was able to hold on for the win after taking the lead on a field goal by Tiger kicker Jake Elliot with 7:35 left in the fourth quarter.

4. 55-23 win over the Kansas Jayhawks – Sept. 12, 2015

The Tigers fell to a quick 10-0 deficit in the first quarter, but once Lynch and Memphis’ offense got rolling there was nothing the Jayhawks could do to stop them. The Tigers put together one of their most complete performances of the season offensively, racking up 651 total yards. Lynch led the way for Memphis with 354 passing yards and two touchdown passes, as he completed 22 of his 25 passes on the day. His impressive 88 percent completion percentage was the highest mark of his career at Memphis. Lynch finished the game with a 95.5 QB rating.

3. 66-42 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane – Oct. 24, 2015

The 6-foot-7 redshirt junior jumped out to a hot start against Tulsa, as he completed a 58-yard touchdown pass to Jones and a 45-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller, both in the first quarter. Lynch continued his strong play throughout the rest of the game, leading Memphis to the 24-point victory. He finished with four touchdown passes on a 72.7 percent completion percentage, as well as a career-high 447 passing yards. Lynch also rushed for a three-yard touchdown.

2. 55-48 victory over BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl – December 23, 2014

This was not Lynch’s best performance in terms of passing yards or completion percentage but more in terms of being the Tigers’ leader. In fact Lynch threw three interceptions and only completed 52.2 percent of his passes (24-46), but he finished with 306 passing yards and seven total touchdowns. He led Memphis to its first bowl win since 2005.

The game went back and forth throughout regulation. Down 45-38 with just under a minute to play, Lynch fired a five-yard bullet through traffic to find Tiger receiver Keiwone Malone in the end zone for the tie. In the second overtime, Lynch connected with Roderick Proctor for an 11-yard touchdown to take a 55-48 lead, which would hold for the final score.

1. 37-24 victory over 13th-ranked Ole Miss – October 17, 2015

This was the first ranked victory since the infamous 1996 Tiger victory over Peyton Manning and the Tennessee Volunteers. Although Memphis fell to an early 14-0 deficit, Lynch stayed composed and confident against one of the best secondary units in the SEC. Lynch repeatedly fired what people considered NFL-caliber passes to each sideline, opening up Ole Miss’s defense. Memphis scored 31 unanswered points leading to the 13-point victory. Lynch led the way once again for the Tigers as he finished with 384 passing yards and three touchdown passes on a 73.6 completion percentage.


These five performances, along with many others, will solidify Lynch’s name in the Tiger history books. He will go down as one of the best players in Tiger football history. Now it will be up to first-year head coach Mike Norvell to find a replacement for an almost irreplaceable quarterback.

Former University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.

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