The Memphis Tigers had their four-game winning streak snapped heartbreakingly to the Houston Cougars in a 33-32 loss at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.
After starting slow last week against Temple, the Tigers responded with two drives, both ending in touchdowns in the first quarter. Tight end Caden Prieskorn had the first score on a 25-receiving yard catch, and running back Brandon Thomas added with 3-yard rushing touchdowns.
The Tigers did a great job on defense, holding Houston's offense to only 7 points in the first half. Safety Quindell Johnson's presence was felt in the first half for the Tigers with an interception and one tackle. However, he had to leave the game due to an injury-- which was a big hit for the Tigers going into the second half.
The third quarter was slow for Memphis, as they couldn't score. They made a lot of mental errors, like when wide receiver Joseph Scates fumbled the ball and offensive lineman Davion Carter had a false start. Nonetheless, the defense played great without giving up any points in the third quarter.
The standout performer for the Tigers was wide receiver, Gabriel Rogers. Rogers totaled 127 all-purpose yards (71 receiving yards, 33 kick return yards, 23 rushing yards) and threw a 41-yard touchdown to running back Asa Martin.
The fourth quarter was the Cougar's best, as they scored 26-points. Meanwhile, the Tigers only scored 12. The play that changed the game for Houston was the 100-yard kick return touchdown by defensive back Jayce Rogers.
Head coach Ryan Silverfield even spoke about the special team's effects on the game: "Special team blunder giving up 100-yard kick return touchdown, not being able to recover an onside kick, all of these things are the reason we lost that game."
The Tigers threw everything at the Cougars, including a trick play touchdown from Rogers to Martin to start the fourth quarter. But Houston's quarterback Clayton Tune had the last laugh with a passing touchdown to wide receiver Kesean Carter with 18 seconds left.
It was heartbreaking to see how the Tigers lost-- the crowd yelled boos and threw beer cans on the field. No one expected the Tigers to blow the 19-point lead to start the fourth quarter.
Defensive lineman Jaylon Allen spoke about getting over the loss and focusing on next week, "They know that it is business next week. So, we can soak in it tonight, but tomorrow we have got to get back up and get ready for business on Saturday."
The Tigers are preparing to get on the road on Saturday, October 15th. They will go to Greenville, North Carolina, to face their AAC rival, East Carolina, at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium at 6:30 pm CST. It will be streamed on ESPN Plus.