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Memphis wins home-opener against Arkansas State

Memphis opened the season at home with a well-rounded win over Arkansas State Red Wolves.

Memphis started slow, but found some ways to beat Arkansas State 37-24. Ryan Silverfield won his first game as head coach of the Memphis Tigers. 

"It does feel great," Silverfield said. "I'm happy to get my first win under my belt."

Silverfield coached his second game at Memphis after losing to Penn State in the Cotton Bowl nearly eight months ago. Silverfield said he had to get that bad taste out of his mouth and he was proud of his players and coaches. 

"At the end of the day, so proud of their effort," Silverfield said. "They found a way at the end of the day to show up with a win."

Arkansas State clicked offensively and the Memphis offense was unable to stop them. The Red Wolves took a 14-7 lead going into the second quarter while leading in passing and rushing yards. The Red Wolves only had four more total plays than the Tigers. 

Silverfield said he wanted to take the results from the first quarter and flush it down the toilet because it was bad all-around. 

"The first quarter was not good enough in any phases," Silverfield said. "We can't start like that. We were able to find a way to get it done."

Memphis readjusted and took control of the second quarter outscoring the Red Wolves 14-0. Memphis went into halftime leading 21-14 after Calvin Austin III caught a pass in the endzone with 24 seconds left in the half. 

The Tigers returned in the third quarter and scored another two touchdowns as they held Arkansas State to three points in the third quarter. Memphis outscored ASU 30-10 after the first quarter and did not lose the lead for the rest of the game. 

Brady White passed for 275 yards, four touchdowns and one interception and contributed 39 yards rushing yards for the team. Arkansas State utilized a quarterback duo with Logan Bonner and Layne Hatcher. They combined to get the Red Wolves 299 passing yards and a touchdown. 

Memphis watched Sean Dykes emerge as the leading receiver with 137 yards, ten receptions and two touchdowns. Dykes was one yard away from receiving half of the total passing yards from White. Dykes said one word to describe his performance was 'execution'. Dykes also said his preparation and mental focus was the result of his standout game. 

White said the whole team knows how talented Dykes is and he will be an asset to the team.

"He is a phenomenal teammate," White said. "He has put so much into this program. So to see him have the night he had and be able to connect with him was a great feeling."

The Memphis defense robbed the Red Wolves with three turnovers. The Tigers kept the Arkansas State defense to 94 total yards in the second quarter and 56 total yards in the third quarter. 

Memphis had not played the Red Wolves since 2013. The Tigers now lead the series against Arkansas State by seven wins with 30 victories. Memphis also won their seventh straight home opener. The Tigers have defeated Arkansas State twice in a row, last time it was a 31-7 win in the Liberty Bowl. 

Memphis rests with a bye week due to Purdue not being able to compete. The Tigers return at home against Houston Sept. 18. 

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