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WATCH: Memphis head coach Mike Norvell surprises walk-on with scholarship at community service event

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Memphis defensive lineman Joseph Dorceus thought he was accompanying Tigers head coach Mike Norvell to a community service event at a Memphis restaurant.

Turns out, Dorceus was the evening’s honoree, as Norvell surprised the walk-on with a scholarship.

Norvell surprised Dorceus, a walk-on, with a scholarship

“The work that you put in, and everything you mean to not only me, but our football program, and today all these people are here celebrating you, because now you are officially on a full scholarship here at the University of Memphis,” Norvell said.

A redshirt sophomore from Spring, Texas, Dorceus appeared in 11 games and collected 16 tackles with one sack and five TFLs in 2017. His older brother, Doroland Dorceus, played for Memphis from 2013-17.

Postma Delivers: Backup QB rallies No. 24 Houston from 20 down to stun No. 21 Memphis

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It’s almost like this exact scenario has played out before. Tom Herman inserted a backup quarterback and found instant success, as Kyle Postma led No. 24 Houston from 20 down to beat No. 21 Memphis 35-34 Saturday night in Houston.

Memphis grabbed a 3-0 lead after one – it was just the third time Houston had been blanked in a quarter this season, and first time outside of a fourth quarter blowout – and pushed the lead to 20-0 with a pair of Paxton Lynch touchdown passes when Herman replaced a gimpy, ineffective Greg Ward, Jr., with the little-used Postma on the Cougars’ final drive before the half. Postma immediately delivered, hitting four of his first five throws, including a 30-yard scoring strike to Linell Bonner to put Houston on the board.

Houston continued its momentum by opening the second half with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by a seven-yard Kenneth Farrow scoring jaunt.

But Memphis responded, pushing the lead back to 20 by moving 68 and then 66 yards on its next two touches for a pair of rushing touchdowns.

Trailing 34-14 entering the fourth quarter, Houston raced 75 yards in six plays, punctuated by another Farrow touchdown run, then seemingly was in business after recovering a Doroland Dorceus fumble at the Memphis 20. The Cougars, though, had a touchdown taken off the board at the 10:06 mark of the fourth when tight end Tyler McCloskey was ruled an ineligible receiver downfield after hauling in an apparent Postma touchdown pass. They would later turn the ball over on downs.

Houston’s defense again responded as Elandon Roberts intercepted Lynch and returned the ball to the Memphis 39. Houston scored seven snaps later – consuming a precious 2:19 – when Javin Webb pushed in from one yard out.

With the score 34-28, Houston’s defense forced an immediate three-and-out, and the Cougars prowled 77 yards in nine plays – all but two coming on Postma’s arm or leg, including a seven-yard dash that gave the Cougars their first lead of the game at the 1:27 mark of the fourth quarter.

Memphis mounted one final drive for the win, but Jake Elliott‘s 48-yard field goal sailed wide right.

Postma, a sophomore that entered the night with six attempts on the entire season, completed 21-of-33 passes for 236 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions while rushing six times for a team-leading 49 yards and a touchdown. He essentially replaced the production Houston expected out of Ward, who notched only 60 passing yards on 5-of-11 passing and was sacked five times before exiting with a banged up ankle. Farrow and Webb combined to rush 14 times for 69 yards and three scores.

Lynch hit 20-of-31 passes for 278 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, plus 43 rushing yards. Dorceus carried 26 times for 116 yards with a score and a fumble.

The win pushes Houston (10-0, 6-0 AAC) one game closer to a winner-take-all date with No. 20 Navy for the American West. All that separates the Cougars from that Black Friday affair in Houston is a trip to Connecticut next week.

Memphis (8-2, 4-2 AAC) saw its CFP party-crasher hopes evaporate with its loss to Navy last week, and now sees any realistic hope of a conference title and Group of Five bowl berth go out the window as well.

Hail Mary aside, unbeaten Memphis taking care of business vs. Tulsa

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In mid-September, Tulsa gave then-No. 16 Oklahoma all it could handle.  Fast-forward a month, and the Golden Hurricane is having a decidedly more difficult time against the No. 18 team in the country.

With defense essentially optional, Memphis was mostly able to have its way through the first two quarters to grab a 35-21 lead at the half on Tulsa.  The U of M came into the game riding a 13-game winning streak, the third-longest in the country behind Ohio State (20) and TCU (15); from midway through the opening stanza — and until the last :10 — they showed exactly why.

Following a first-quarter fumble with the score tied at 7-all, and with the visitors wobbling oh so slightly, the Tigers proceeded to score on three straight possessions which, when coupled with a Hurricane touchdown, pushed the score to 28-14 with 6:39 remaining in the second quarter.

A Dane Evans interception gave the Tigers the ball back at the Hurricane 44-yard line with 3:24 left in the second and, with the help of a pair of critically asinine Derrick Luetjen penalties, they extended the lead to 21 on a Doroland Dorceus one-yard touchdown run.  A Hail Mary on a play that began with 10 seconds remaining and ended with shoddy defense on the U of M’s part sliced the unbeaten’s lead to two score with no time left on the clock.

The Tigers have totaled 387 yards of offense in the first half, while the high-powered Hurricane overcame a sluggish start to put up 265.  U of M quarterback Paxton Lynch, whose presence on the Heisman radar will grow larger the the longer his team wins, threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.