DALLAS (FWAA) – The Memphis Tigers put an exclamation point on their first 6-0 start since 1961 with an offensive show against No. 12 Ole Miss, rallying from a 14-0 deficit to score the next 31 points in a 37-24 win in front of 60,241 at the Liberty Bowl. By extending their current win streak to 13 – the third-longest in the nation – the Tigers earned the AutoNation National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 17.
Quarterback Paxton Lynch was the catalyst, completing 39-of-53 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns. Memphis came up big on key plays, converting 12-of-20 third-downs as receiver Anthony Miller set a career-high with 10 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown, and Mose Frazier caught eight passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Ole Miss scored on its first two possessions before the Memphis defense clamped down, holding the Rebels scoreless for 32:45, allowing the offense to register the 31-point run.
Memphis’ 13-game winning streak extends its all-time best for the program, whose previous record for consecutive wins was 10 during its undefeated 1938 season and also stretching through the 1960 and ’61 seasons.
“I think there was a time in the first quarter when they thought, ‘Maybe coach hasn’t been lying to us forever and we can do this,'” Memphis head coach Justin Fuente said. “I think there was a moment of realization today, but I’m not sure when it was. My message to the team was you don’t have to be better than you are. You don’t have to be someone you aren’t. The best ‘you’ is what we need.”
Other AutoNation National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Oct. 17 included:
• Idaho (2-4): The Vandals earned a tip of the cap for overcoming a rugged travel schedule to win at Troy, 19-16, and snap a 24-game road losing streak. Due to mechanical issues, the team’s charter flight didn’t leave until 3:30 a.m. local time and arrived in Alabama at 9 a.m., just five hours before kickoff. Following breakfast and team meetings, the Vandals still had a one-hour bus ride to the stadium. Austin Rehkow booted four field goals, including the game-winning 19-yarder with 3:01 left.
• Michigan State (7-0): The Spartans remained unbeaten in the most improbable fashion, scoring on a play that will be forever remembered and replayed in college football history as Jalen Watts-Jackson, a backup redshirt freshman used primarily on special teams, picked up a punter’s fumble and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown on the final play for a 27-23 win at arch-rival Michigan. Michigan State won a game it didn’t led until the final gun.
• Utah State (4-2): The Aggies stayed undefeated in the Mountain West Conference, rolling to a 52-26 win over No. 21 Boise State by forcing with eight turnovers – seven in the first half – as USU controlled the game from the start to gain a 45-10 halftime lead. Utah State has now won 12 in a row at home.
• Weekend of Sept. 5: Temple Owls
• Weekend of Sept. 12: Toledo Rockets
• Weekend of Sept. 19: Ole Miss Rebels
• Weekend of Sept. 26: Utah Utes
• Weekend of Oct. 3: Florida Gators
• Weekend of Oct. 10: Texas Longhorns
• Weekend of Oct. 17: Memphis Tigers