Damonte Coxie

Associated Press

Big plays, second half defense lift Memphis over Navy in showdown of AAC unbeatens

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On the field and on the stat sheet, Navy dominated Memphis in the first half. The visiting Middies darn near ran the Tigers out of their own stadium, racking up 43 first-half carries for 217 yards while adding 75 yards on seven pass attempts — an even 50 plays. Memphis, meanwhile, ran 15. The Tigers totaled 69 first-half rushing yards on 10 carries, which sounds good until you realize their first carry went for 75.

But Memphis did get that 75-yard carry, a first-offensive-snap-of-the-game touchdown bolt from the aptly-named Kenneth Gainwell, and they got a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown from Gabriel Rogers. It was enough to keep the home team in the game, 20-14, at halftime, at which point the script completely flipped after the break, allowing the Tigers to pull away for a 35-23 win.

After throwing for just 29 first-half yards, Brady White came alive in the second, hitting 14-of-18 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns.

White put Memphis (4-0, 1-0 American) up for good when he found Kederian Jones for a 5-yard touchdown at the 9:05 mark of the third quarter, punctuating a drive in which the pair also hooked up for gains of 12 and 13 yards. White then gave Memphis control of the game with a 73-yard snatch-and-dash strike to Antonio Gibson, the Tigers’ longest passing play of the season. (They have three rushing plays of 70-plus yards thus far, the most in the country.)

When a 49-yard Bijan Nichols field goal pulled Navy (2-1, 1-1 American) within 28-23 with 12:17 to play, White provided the dagger, hitting Gainwell for a 13-yard gain (which turned into 28 when adding a Navy personal foul) and then Damonte Coxie for a 31-yard touchdown, capping the scoring with 11:27 to play.

After rushing for 217 first-half yards, Navy mustered just 74 yards on 23 carries after halftime. The Midshipmen entered the night as the nation’s leading rushers (371.5 yards per game) but ended 80 yards below their season average.

After Navy out-gained Memphis 292-98 in the first half, Memphis won the second 203-81.

Before it fell apart, though, everything started perfectly for Navy. The Middies opened the game with a 41-yard end around and scored touchdowns on three of their first five possessions, two on 1-yard Malcolm Perry keepers and on beautiful 17-yard Perry pass to Chance Warren on 3rd-and-9. But Perry, who battled injuries throughout the game, could not carry the offense when the running game dried up. He went just 2-of-4 for seven yards after the break, while backup Perry Olsen was intercepted on Navy’s final offensive play.

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy headlines 2019 Biletnikoff Award Watch List

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Media Day season is also Watch List season and the latest to surface for the 2019 campaign comes out of Tallahassee in the form of the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding receiver, includes the defending winner in Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and fellow semifinalist Tylan Wallace out of Oklahoma State, as well as a number of other talented pass-catchers from around the country.

Here’s the full list, which is a good general overview of the best wide receivers and tight ends for the upcoming season even if a few names can gripe about being left off:

Lynn Bowden, Jr. (Kentucky)

Rico Bussey, Jr. (North Texas)

Cedric Byrd (Hawaii)

Grant Calcaterra (Oklahoma)

Damonte Coxie (Memphis)

Gabriel Davis (UCF)

Bryan Edwards (South Carolina)

D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan)

Aaron Fuller (Washington)

Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty)

KJ Hamler (Penn State)

Adrian Hardy (Louisiana Tech)

Damon Hazelton (Virginia Tech)

Tee Higgins (Clemson)

K.J. Hill (Ohio State)

Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon State)

Justin Jefferson (LSU)

Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)

Tyler Johnson (Minnesota)

Collin Johnson (Texas)

CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)

Ty Lee (Middle Tennessee State)

Kalija Lipscomb (Vanderbilt)

McLane Mannix (Texas Tech)

Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State)

Riley Miller (Ball State)

Denzel Mims (Baylor)

Darnell Mooney (Tulane)

Rondale Moore (Purdue)

Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri)

K.J. Osborn (Miami)

Dezmon Patmon (Washington State)

Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt)

Michael Pittman, Jr. (USC)

James Proche (SMU)

Jalen Reagor (TCU)

Jared Rice (Fresno State)

Sean Riley (Syracuse)

Reggie Roberson, Jr. (SMU)

Justyn Ross (Clemson)

Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)

Laviska Shenault, Jr. (Colorado)

JD Spielman (Nebraska)

Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC)

Marquez Stevenson (Houston)

Tamorrion Terry (Florida State)

Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)

Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State)

JoJo Ward (Hawaii)

Quez Watkins (Southern Miss)

No. 10 UCF overcomes Memphis’ 16-point lead, extends nation’s longest winning streak to 19

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On the same day Scott Frost‘s new team extended a lengthy losing streak, his old team saw their extended winning streak continue — barely.

Very late in the second quarter, No. 10 UCF trailed Memphis by 16 at 30-14.  Over the next two quarters, the Knights overcame both that deficit and a steady downpour to top the Tigers 31-30 in Memphis Saturday afternoon.

UCF has now won a school-record 19 straight games, with its last loss coming in the 2016 Cure Bowl on Dec. 17 of that year.  Only one other FBS team currently has a double-digit winning streak — No. 3 Ohio State, winners of 12 straight after getting past Minnesota this afternoon.

A Taj McGovern 71-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter pulled the Knights to within six at 30-24.  Five minutes later, the Knights saw its first lead since midway through the first quarter as quarterback McKenzie Milton scored from seven yards out to make the score 31-30 with 12:14 remaining.

With under seven minutes left in the game, Darrell Henderson‘s 32-yard touchdown run was wiped out by a penalty; a sack on the next play pushed the Tigers out of field-goal range and forced them to punt.  On the ensuing possession, the Knights picked up a pair of first downs before going for it on a fourth-and-two from their own 40-yard line to keep the drive alive with under three minutes remaining.  While they didn’t get much further, they did bleed time off the clock and forced Memphis to use their remaining timeouts.

A punt gave the Tigers the ball one final time at their own 15-yard line with 1:09 remaining and no timeouts.  A 31-yard hookup between Brady White and Damonte Coxie moved the ball out to U of M’s 46-yard line; another White completion, this one for 19 yards to Sean Dykes, put the Tigers in field-goal range at the Knight’s 35-yard line.  However, a five-yard penalty and 10-second runoff (that was crucial) pushed them out.

A completion in-bounds on the next play bled the final seconds off the clock and kept UCF’s streak alive.

With UCF’s win and No. 2 Georgia’s loss, there are now 10 undefeated teams at the FBS level — No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Clemson, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 6 West Virginia, No. 10 UCF, No. 19 Colorado, No. 20 North Carolina State, No. 23 USF and No. 25 Cincinnati.  The Buckeyes, Fighting Irish and Bulls have already won in Week 7, while the Crimson Tide, Mountaineers and Buffaloes play tonight.  The Tigers, Wolfpack and Bearcats are on their off weekend.