If you like offense, then the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl seems to have you entertained this Monday afternoon. Memphis and BYU put together a back-and-forth first quarter with over 300 yards of combined offense and 31 combined points. BYU leads Memphis at the half, 28-24.
BYU fumbled away the football on the game’s opening possession, which set Memphis up in great position at the BYU 35-yard line to open the scoring just three plays later with a Paxton Lynch touchdown pass to Keiwone Malone. BYU responded by driving 82 yards over five plays with BYU quarterback Christian Stewart tossing a 47-yard touchdown strike to Mitchell Juergens to tie things up.
We were just getting started.
Memphis went 58 yards and Lynch pushed one across the goal line from the one-yard line to regain the lead for Memphis. BYU answered, this time with Stewart connecting with Mitch Mathews for a 25-yard touchdown. Memphis later regained the lead with a 39-yard field goal from Jake Elliott. That helped give Memphis a 17-14 lead after one quarter of play.
Memphis extended the lead to 24-14 with another touchdown run by Lynch early in the second quarter, but BYU battled back. Stewart completed a pass down the right sideline to a back-peddling Jordan Leslie, who showed great concentration to grab the pass above his head and step back into the end zone with one foot before falling out of bounds. A video review upheld the touchdown, bringing BYU within three points of Memphis, 24-21.
BYU’s defense then came up with a big play on the ensuing possession by Memphis. On the second play from scrimmage, Alani Fua tipped a pass from Lynch and he kept his hands on the ball for the interception before returning the football 37 yards to set the Cougars up on offense from the Memphis 15-yard line. Paul Lasike eventually punched one in on the ground from three yards out to give BYU its first lead of the game in the final two minutes of the half, 28-24.
This could be an entertaining second half between BYU and Memphis if the offenses continue working like this.
After going from AU to the ACC, tailback Asa Martin is now ticketed for the AAC.
Per 247Sports, Martin has apparently enrolled at Memphis for the 2019 season. Per transfer rules he’s sitting out the year either way unless there’s some sort of NCAA waiver involved but it’s still the sophomore’s third school in nine months.
Martin was originally a four-star recruit in the class of 2018 and saw action in five games for the SEC Tigers as a true freshman, rushing for 57 yards all told while catching two passes for 36 yards. He entered the transfer portal in late December though, just after Auburn’s season had concluded.
Eventually Martin found a home at Miami and enrolled in time for spring practice. Perhaps he was not thrilled at the situation because come mid-June the tailback was back in the transfer portal looking for a new program to play with.
We’ll see if this latest move to Memphis sticks because we’ve certainly seen that Martin is no stranger to moving around.
Tommy Stevens’ reunion with Joe Moorhead has proven to be a fruitful one.
The Penn State transfer was named the starting quarterback on Thursday by the Mississippi State head coach, ending a camp battle with Keytaon Thompson and others in the bid to replace Nick Fitzgerald under center for the Bulldogs.
Stevens made his way to Starkville rather surprisingly this offseason after spring practice for the Nittany Lions wrapped up. While he was expected to be the heir apparent to Trace McSorley in State College for the 2019 campaign, it seems that a competitive battle with fellow Penn State QB Sean Clifford pushed him to enter the NCAA transfer portal instead.
While some may have questioned the move initially given that Thompson has starting experience at MSU and in Moorhead’s system, things apparently worked out in the end as Stevens takes over for Fitzgerald instead.
A noted dual-threat with the ball in his hands at PSU, Stevens rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns last year while also passing for 110 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Mississippi State opens the season against Louisiana-Lafayette in New Orleans on Aug. 31 before their home opener against Southern Miss on Sept. 7.
The non-conference scheduling wheel in college continues to roll.
It has been a particularly busy month for Arkansas in terms of lining up future opponents. Hot on the heels of confirming another home-and-home series with Oklahoma State deep into the future, the Razorbacks announced on Thursday that they have agreed to a 2-for-1 series with old, old rival Tulsa over the next decade.
The Razorbacks will host the Golden Hurricane in Fayetteville on Nov. 21, 2026 and Sept. 1, 2029. The return trip to Tulsa is set for Sept. 4, 2027.
The regional rivals were old foes back in the day and have met 73 times over the years. Arkansas won 23-0 last season in their most recent meeting and will make their first trip to Northwest Oklahoma since 1952 when that 2027 date rolls around.
The Golden Hurricane also had some additional scheduling news from earlier in the week when they announced a home-and-home with ex-CUSA foe Louisiana Tech. The old conference rivals will meet in Ruston on Sept. 21, 2024 and then play a return game the following year on Sept. 27, 2025 at Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman Stadium.
Justin Fuente is sticking with what works.
On Thursday, the Virginia Tech head coach confirmed to reporters at a press conference that senior Ryan Willis has kept the starting job and will be QB1 for the team when they open against Boston College in Week 1.
Willis took over early last season when previous starter Josh Jackson suffered a broken leg against Old Dominion. The latter wound up transferring to Maryland while Willis, a transfer himself from Kansas, threw for 2,716 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2018. Though he did keep the Hokies’ bowl streak alive — barely — thanks to a win over rival Virginia in the final week of the regular season, Willis was just 4-6 as a starter overall.
Fuente and company will certainly hope for better play out of the position with another year in the system and can get off to a good start in 2019 with three straight home games against ODU, Furman and Duke following their trip to Chestnut Hill on Aug. 31.