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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Cougars steamroll Memphis for 56-17 victory

The Cougars made it look effortless Saturday, pummeling Memphis 56-17 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.

Freshman quarterback David Piland (8) completed 20 of 23 passes for 292 yards and five touchdowns. | Jack Wehman/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars (5-3) improved to 4-1 in Conference USA, remaining in first place in the West Division.

The Cougars came out firing in the second half with a 12-play 60 yard drive resulting in a 4-yard touchdown pass from David Piland to Justin Johnson – his first touchdown of the season.

The defense held Memphis to a three-and-out on the ensuing possession. The Cougars started from their own 1-yard line and eight plays later found paydirt when Piland connected with James Cleveland on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 5:51 in the third.

Piland had a thorough performance, completing 20 of 23 passes for 292 yards and five touchdowns.

The sizable advantage allowed quarterback Terrance Broadway to get some playing time. In his first possession, a bad snap led to the Cougars’ first turnover.

The offense capitalized on their next drive, when Broadway completed a 54-yard bomb to E.J. Smith with 13:04 to go in the fourth to make the score 56-10.

Running back Bryce Beall left the game in the first quarter with a sore knee, but the injury did not appear to be serious.

The Cougars were able to brush aside a field goal on Memphis’ first drive, reeling off 35 unanswered points in the first half.

Patrick Edwards had a big first half with two long touchdown receptions, one for 15 and one for 54. The special teams unit made a statement for the second consecutive week, giving Edwards room to run back a 74-yard punt return with 8:28 in the second quarter.

With Beall out, Hayes shouldered the load in the run game. With 1:19 remaining in the first half Hayes caught a 22-yard pass and  somersaulted over two defenders to break the plane of the end zone, giving the Cougars a 35-3 lead before halftime. Hayes would finish with 123 rushing yards on 20 attempts.

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