Friday’s college football: No. 24 Memphis crushes Tulane

Associated Press
Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson (4) and running back Tony Pollard (1) celebrate after Pollard scored a touchdown in the first half.

Memphis, Tenn. — During a four-game winning streak that has given No. 24 Memphis the lead in the American Athletic Conference West Division, the Tigers have averaged 49.5 points and 541.5 yards total offense. Still, there's something missing.

The Tigers are still seeking more from their high-powered offense that has occasionally sputtered.

They got plenty of points Friday night. Memphis overpowered Tulane 56-26 behind a balanced attack that produced 298 passing yards and 259 rushing yards. Quarterback Riley Ferguson passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two others, while running back Darrell Henderson added 112 yards and another score.

"When you score 56 points, it's a good night," Memphis coach Mike Norvell said. "But we've got to continue to be more consistent in what we're doing."

The win kept the Tigers (7-1, 4-1) atop the West Division by a half game over SMU, which defeated Tulsa on Friday night. Tulane (3-5, 1-3) dropped its third consecutive game and lost its 11th straight in the series.

The Tigers sputtered in the third quarter, managing only 30 yards and being held scoreless. In its win at Houston last week, Memphis was shut out in the first half before rallying for 42 second-half points.

"That third quarter was terrible," Memphis receiver Anthony Miller said. "We're back to the drawing board. We've just got to limit the mistakes. We have yet to play a complete game. That's our goal this season."

Ferguson entered having thrown for 1,181 yards and 11 touchdowns — with one interception — in the team's previous three games. He continued his solid play by throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns in the opening half. The Tigers led 35-12 at the break.

He also was concerned about what transpired in the third quarter. Each of the team's three drives ended with punts. Two were three-and-outs.

"It's just execution, that's the main thing," Ferguson said. "We have to keep ourselves in manageable downs and distances. If we do that, we'll be successful."

Tulane, which ranked 12th nationally in rushing at 266 yards per game, managed only 16 rushing yards in the first quarter and 122 for the game.

"Seeing them with 52 carries and (only) 122 yards, that's pretty special," Norvell said.

Despite the sluggish start, the Green Wave scored 19 straight points after falling behind 35-0.

Tulane scored twice in the final 3:44 of the first half — including a touchdown on the final play of the half — and added a third-quarter touchdown on a 6-yard pass from Jonathan Banks to Charles Jones to trim the deficit to 35-19.

(At) Boston College 35, Florida State 3: AJ Dillon watched the first Red Bandanna Game on television, a 16-year-old Boston-area high schooler imagining what it would be like to celebrate on the field with his teammates and the crowd pouring over the railings to join them.

"I got a chance to be a part of that today," Dillon said after Boston College’s win Friday night. "As a team, as a university, this was a really big win for us."

Dillon ran for 149 yards and a touchdown to help BC snap a seven-game losing streak against the Seminoles. Just two years removed from a winless Atlantic Coast Conference season, the Eagles (5-4, 3-3) have now won three straight ACC games for the first time since 2013.

BC students stormed the field after the victory — the first home conference win the senior class was able to see. The Eagles had won just one home ACC game since 2013, and it was during Thanksgiving break.

"It was an awesome atmosphere to play in," said BC linebacker Ty Schwab, who had 12 tackles, an interception, a sack and 2.5 tackles for a loss. "It was exciting, and I'll definitely remember this game probably the rest of my life."

The game was dedicated to the memory of Welles Crowther, a BC lacrosse player who was killed in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2011. Crowther, who was known for wearing a red bandanna, was remembered by survivors for helping at least a dozen people escape to safety.

The Eagles uniforms featured bandanna-style trim, and fans were given red kerchiefs when entering the stadium. Coach Steve Addazio said he gave Crowther's parents a game ball — just as he did after BC beat ninth-ranked Southern California in the first Red Bandanna Game in 2014, the last time the Alumni Stadium crowd stormed the field.

Dillon, a freshman, had to ask teammate Jon Hilliman on Thursday night what that was like. "He said it's one of those things you're never going to forget," Dillon said.

Anthony Brown threw for one touchdown and ran for another, and Jeff Smith threw for a TD on a flanker option for BC. It was the most points the Eagles have ever scored against Florida State.

The Seminoles (2-5, 2-4), who opened the season ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25, fell three games below .500 for the first time since Bobby Bowden's first season in 1976.