Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Jacob Karam completed 14-of-18 attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Memphis Tigers to a 37-23 victory over the Tulane Green Wave in a Conference USA bout at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
The win was the second of coach Justin Fuente's career and ended a four-game losing slide for Memphis (2-8, 2-4 C-USA). Brandon Hayes paced the rushing attack with 51 yards on 16 attempts. Marcus Rucker reeled in four catches for 55 yards while Jesse Milleson made three grabs for 52 yards and a score. The Tigers' defensive unit came up big with four interceptions, a fumble recovery, and three sacks.
Tulane (2-8, 2-4) was unable to overcome its four turnovers which limited its offense that had produced an average of 51 points per game over the team's last two outings. Ryan Griffin struggled under center with a season-high three interceptions and only 211 yards on 25-of-43 passing. Ryan Grant continued to excel by making 11 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. Darion Monroe had a strong showing on the defensive side of the ball with nine total tackles, two fumble recoveries, and a defensive score.
Memphis jumped out to an early lead as Karam completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Milleson at the 11:19 mark of the opening period. Tulane answered on its next drive as Griffin led the offense 70 yards down the field on 10 plays before finishing off the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Grant.
Cairo Santos connected on a 43-yard field goal with 57 seconds left in the first quarter to give the visitors a 10-6 lead after 15 minutes.
The Tigers took back control with just over 12 minutes left in the opening half as Jai Steib punctuated a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard plunge into the end zone.
Santos evened the score at the 8:12 mark of the second stanza with a 43-yard field goal. Memphis managed to put Paul Henriques in position to make a 24-yard field goal as time expired to give the home team a 16-13 lead at the break.
Tulane struck first in the second half with a 30-yard field goal by Santos with just under eight minutes left in the third quarter. Karam wasted no time answered as he completed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Jones on the second play of the Tigers' ensuing drive. Karam's second touchdown pass of the day gave Memphis a 23-16 lead heading into the fourth period.
The Tigers continued to produce in the fourth quarter. Memphis managed to cap off a nine-play, 97-yard drive with six points as Hayes made a rare halfback pass to Reggie Travis for six yards and a touchdown. The Green Wave attempted to rally back but Tank Jakes picked off Griffin and returned the interception 32 yards across the goal line.
Tulane ended its opponent's 21-0 run with 15 seconds remaining as Monroe returned a fumble 54 yards for the final score of the contest.
Memphis gained 386 yards of total offense in the contest and held Tulane to 291 yards.