clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cincinnati loses 99-point shootout to Memphis when record-breaking QB throws wild INT

I need to lie down.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

So, what did you do on Thursday night? Well, Memphis and Cincinnati were busy, combining for 1,324 yards of total offense between the two teams and 99 combined points. Memphis held on for a 53-46 win, but also gave up the most yards ever surrendered in Memphis program history. Thursday night in the Liberty Bowl was an offensive explosion, and it ended in truly bizarre fashion.

For the sake of brevity, let's zip ahead to the end. Memphis got the ball with 2:27 remaining and the score tied at 46. The Tigers dodged a very close call when an apparent fumble was ruled to be down on the first play of the drive. You can judge for yourself.

Bailed out by what appears to be a bad call, Memphis marched down the field and Sam Craft ran it in to give the Tigers a 53-46 lead with 53 seconds left. Hayden Moore, filling in for an injured Gunner Kiel, guided Cincinnati down into the red zone with less than 20 seconds left. And then this happened.

I mean, what? After being absolutely perfect for most of the night, Moore's mistake ended with the ball in a Memphis defender's gut.

Despite the last second brain fart, Moore was excellent for Cincinnati, throwing for 557 yards and setting a new school record, all while not even playing in a full game. Chris Moore, Max Morrison and Shaq Washington each caught touchdown passes, and 11 different receivers caught at least one pass.

Paxton Lynch did his part to keep Memphis step for step with Cincinnati, throwing for 412 yards and two touchdowns, and Jarvis Cooper, Sam Craft and Mose Frazier each rushed for touchdowns.

Three things to know

1. Holy smokes, slow down, guys. 99 points. This game's pace was frenetic for much of the night, and the haymakers went from whistle to whistle. The Gunner Kiel injury cast a pall over much of the night, but it was hard to argue with this game's excitement level for much of the second half, otherwise.

2. Cincinnati might be fine without Kiel, if need be. Hayden Moore was absolutely excellent in relief for Kiel. The Bearcats are still in the running for a big time New Years bowl bid, and if he can keep playing at a high level, a long-term absence for Kiel may not be that damaging to their hopes.

3. Oh my God, that final play. It's cruel to allow a game like that end with a baffling interception like that, but it's almost an appropriate end for a bonkers Thursday night game in Memphis.


Get one roundup of college football stories, rumors, game breakdowns, and Jim Harbaugh oddity in your inbox every morning.