MOTSAG Pretend CFP: First Round; #8 Memphis versus #9 Boise State

The only matchup between two non-Power 5 teams, 9th seeded Boise State faced off against 8th seeded Memphis.  Both teams entered the game with matching 12-1 records with their one loss coming in upsets; Temple knocking off Memphis and BYU beating Boise State.  In this first year of the new 12 team format, both schools felt a lot of pressure to show that the non-Power 5 programs deserved to be included.

Boise State got on the board first with a passing touchdown by quarterback Hank Bachmeier on the opening drive of the game.  After a couple stalled drives by both teams, Bachmeier hit leading receiver John Hightower for a 60 yard touchdown to put Boise up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter started with both teams struggling to get anything going on offense but Memphis took advantage of a better punting game to win the field position battle and midway through the second quarter, the Tigers started a drive at midfield and quickly took advantage thanks to a 6 play drive that ended with quarterback Brady White finding receiver Kedarian Jones in the corner of the endzone to make it a 14-7 game.  Boise State’s offense couldn’t do anything on their next drive but their defense came up big, intercepting a Tiger pass to give the Broncos the ball deep in Memphis territory.  However the Bronco’s offense could only manage one first down and they had to settle for a field goal to give themselves a 17-7 lead.  Boise State looked like they had the chance to score again late in the half but Bachmeier was intercepted and Memphis took advantage, putting together an excellent final two minutes that culminated in Brady White hitting leading receiver Damonte Coxie for a 27 yard touchdown right before half.  Both teams headed into the locker room with Boise State up 17-14.

Memphis received the kickoff to start the second half and a nice 30 yard return set them up in good field position.  The Tigers continued their momentum from the end of the first half, putting together a nice drive that culminated with running back Kenny Gainwell punching it into the endzone from the 2-yard line to give the Tiger’s their first lead of the game, 21-17.  The teams exchanged punts before Gainwell once again showed off, this time breaking a few tackles to turn a short pass into a 60 yard gain and a 1st and goal at the 4.  After an incomplete pass by White, Gainwell finished the drive himself with a 4-yard scamper to extend the Memphis lead to 28-17.

Boise State was on the ropes and after a three and out, Memphis landed what looked like the knock out punch as White and Gainwell teamed up for what would be the third touchdown of the day for each of them, giving the Tigers a 35-17 lead to start the fourth quarter.  The Broncos weren’t done though, keeping calm despite the large deficit, they put together an efficient mix of running and passing plays that ended with Bachmeier’s third passing td of the day to make it a 35-24 game with 8 minutes to go.  Momentum seemed to be swinging the Broncos way as they forced a three and out and then quickly moved the ball into Tiger territory.  The clock was becoming an issue though, forcing Boise to abandon their running game and rely on the passing game, which had been hit or miss all season.  This time it missed as Bachmeier threw his second interception of the game, ending the Broncos drive.  Memphis managed to burn a few minutes off the clock, ending the Broncos hopes and coming away with a 35-24 win to advance to the second round.

Memphis quarterback Brady White and running back Kenny Gainwell were the stars of the game.  White had 325 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, with only 1 interception, while Gainwell ran for 2 touchdowns and caught one other.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: