MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Seth Henigan completed eight of 11 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns as Memphis scored on five of its first six drives to halt a three-game slide and defeat Navy 35-17 on Thursday night.
Four of the five touchdown drives included at least one big play to burn the Navy defense. Henigan competed a 49-yard pass to Javon Ivory on the first play of the game, a 74-yard TD pass to Eddie Lewis and a 51-yard gainer to Koby Drake in the third quarter. The Tigers (4-3, 1-2 American Athletic Conference) also scored on a 69-yard reverse.
Calvin Austin III sprinted 69-yards to score on a reverse, staking Memphis to a 14-7 lead it wouldn’t relinquish, one play after Navy ground 21 plays to tie the game at 7. It was the most plays for any drive by any team at the FBS level this season.
Austin’s reverse was all speed, looping out of the backfield and slipping through a knot of three would-be tacklers converging on him just beyond the line of scrimmage.
Navy (1-5, 1-3) took over after Memphis’ game-opening touchdown and ground up the rest of the first quarter with a nearly 12-minute, 75-yard monster of a drive taking 21 plays. James Harris II punched the ball over from the 2 — scoring his first career touchdown— as Navy advanced on 17 plays of five yards or less.
The 21-play campaign was Navy’s longest since a 26-play drive in the 2004 Emerald Bowl.
Tai Lavatai left the game after a sack early in the fourth quarter. He passed for 27 yards and rushed for a net of 28, The Midshipmen had 10 rushers for 198 yards on the ground.
Navy had two apparent scoring plays nullified by penalties just minutes apart in the second quarter and wound up with a Bijan Nichols 39-yard field goal, trailing 14-10.
The Tigers are 9-0 in Thursday night games, 21-1 in regular season games not played on Saturday.
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