A second half led by blistering defense and turnovers helped propel The University of Memphis Tigers (2-8, 2-4 in Conference USA) to a 37-23 victory over the Tulane Green Wave (2-8, 2-4 in C-USA) Saturday night in front of 18,976 paid attendance at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
The stifling Tigers' defense, led by junior defensive tackle Johnnie Farms and his 1.5 sacks and forced fumble, created turnovers that led to points and sealed the second victory of the season for the Tigers and first-year Tigers football head head coach Justin Fuente.
"I would like to thank Tiger Nation for showing up, supporting us and being vocal tonight," Fuente said. "I'm awfully proud of our guys and the way they played. Defensively and offensively we made some big plays. In the passing game, Jacob (Karam) was pretty efficient tonight."
Though it wasn't very gaudy numbers, Karam, a junior transfer quarterback, completed 14-of-18 passes for 270 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The biggest play of the game, a 52-yard touchdown strike to redshirt freshman receiver Tevin Jones, broke open a 16-16 stalemate in the third quarter.
"It was a fun night," Karam said. "We focused all week on trying to execute better than they did. Personally, I wish I could have taken care of the ball better, but at the end of the day we got the win. That's all that matters."
The Tigers ground game out-rushed Tulane 110 yards to 80. Memphis also gained more total yards than the Green Wave, amassing 386 to Tulane's 291. But the story of the night was the Tigers defense, intercepting Tulane four times, one for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
"It was a good game all the way around," Farms said. "The defense played good, the offense came around. I knew we were going to have a good game. We practiced really tough all week."
The Tigers travel to Birmingham (AL) to take on rival Alabama-Birmingham next Saturday in the annual Battle for the Bones game. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.