The Memphis Tigers were defeated by #25 UCF Knights 35-28. The loss marks the Tigers’ fourth consecutive loss after starting the season 4-1.
The 4-5 record marks the Tigers’ worst nine-week record since 2013. The loss also means that the Tigers are now out of contention for the American Athletic Conference Championship game.
Tigers Quarterback Seth Henigan finished the game with 26 completions, 284 passing yards and 69 rushing yards, along with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. Although, Henigan had two costly interceptions, with one inside the red zone.
Brandon Thomas and Jeyvon Ducker both finished with a rushing touchdown.
The game was close the whole way, with the Tigers heading into halftime down 21-14, but they would tie the game in the third quarter, making it 21-21.
When it looked like the Tigers would take the lead, Tigers backup tight end John Hassell was ejected from the game due to a targeting call. The call would put the Tigers back 15 yards, taking most of the momentum out of the Tigers.
When asked about the call, Seth Henigan explained how it affected the game.
“That targeting on Hassell, that definitely changed the game, in my opinion. We had got some penalties earlier, with some PIs and stuff, so maybe they were trying to even it out, but that block happens 10 times a game.”
Although, the momentum shifted when the Tigers went for a controversial 4th-and-16 on the UCF 39-yard line. The play ended in a turnover on downs, giving UCF a good field position that would result in a go-ahead touchdown to go up 28-21.
After the game, Coach Silverfield explained the thought process behind the risky decision.
“If you do punt it and were an average pooch punting. If you get a touchback, you’re talking about just a 19-yard flip of the field. If we pin them down, we’re talking maybe 29 or 30.”
Later in the game, Henigan threw an interception leading to a game-clinching touchdown by UCF to push the lead to 35-21. The Tigers would fight back as Joseph Scates would score a 14-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 35-28 with 3 minutes left.
Although, UCF would run the clock out and leave Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium with the win.
From this point, the Tigers will need to win two out of their last three games to be considered bowl-eligible this season.
The Tigers will look to snap the losing streak next week as they stay home to take on Tulsa. Kickoff is set for 6:30 pm on Thursday.