Memphis takes control early to beat Cincinnati 34-7
CINCINNATI (AP) Jason Stewart threw two touchdown passes and Doroland Dorceus ran for two more scores to lead Memphis to a 34-7 victory over Cincinnati on Friday night.
Memphis (7-4, 4-3 American) has beaten Cincinnati in three straight games.
Stewart tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Joey Magnifico, and a 22-yard scoring strike to Anthony Miller. Stewart had 138 yards passing after replacing starting quarterback Riley Ferguson, who left the game with an undisclosed injury after the Tigers' first possession.
''We wanted to make sure we took care of Riley'', Memphis coach Mike Norvell said. ''It was mostly a precaution. I won't go into it in detail but I think it'll be fine. It's tough when a guy has to come in seven or eight minutes into a game.''
Stewart appeared in three games before Friday, completing 7 of 12 passes for 63 yards.
''I was a little nervous at first, but once I got into the flow of the game I was fine,'' Stewart said.
Dorceus ran for two scores inside the 8-yard line and finished with 66 yards rushing on 13 carries. Jake Elliott kicked a 37-yard and 32-yard field goal in the first quarter for the Tigers.
Hayden Moore threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Devin Gray early in the fourth quarter for Cincinnati (4-7, 1-6), which gained just 99 yards in the first half and finished with 244 yards of offense. Moore was 23 of 34 for 144 yards and threw two interceptions.
Curtis Akins and Chris Morely intercepted Moore's passes in back-to-back possessions as Memphis bolted to a 27-0 halftime lead.
''It was the same old song,'' Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said. ''I didn't think we'd turn the ball over like we did early.''
Memphis: Elliot broke the Memphis scoring record held by Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots. Elliot has never missed his 192 extra-point attempts, including four against Cincinnati. . The Tigers entered the game tied for third in the nation with 23 forced turnovers. They forced two against the Bearcats.
Cincinnati: Three quarterbacks have started at least two games. Hayden Moore had his sixth start against Memphis. Gunner Kiel has three starts and Ross Trail two. The quarterbacks have combined for 15 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. Moore has eight touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Kiel has six scores with two picks. Trail has one TD pass and six interceptions.
Memphis is bowl eligible for the third consecutive year. Cincinnati will not get the requisite six wins with one game to play.
Stewart didn't have any college offers out of high school, and transferred to Memphis from Fort Scott Community College. ''I feel like I've been blessed and wouldn't trade a day. I feel blessed from the way I got here,'' Stewart said. ''Stew prepares every week like he's the starter,'' Dorceus said.'' We went to work.''
Memphis: The bowl-eligible Tigers host Houston on Friday.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats end their season Friday at Tulsa.