MEMPHIS -- Brady White threw for 196 yards and three touchdowns Thursday night as Memphis used big plays to defeat Navy 35-23.
Kenneth Gainwell rushed for 104 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown on the Tigers opening play from scrimmage as Memphis (4-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) knocked Navy from the unbeaten ranks.
Malcolm Perry led the Midshipmen (2-1, 1-1) with 82 yards passing and 91 yards rushing. He ran for two touchdowns and threw for another. Keoni Makekau rushed for 101 yards for Navy.
The game was a contrast in styles with Navy grinding out yards and maintaining possession, while Memphis capitalized on big plays. The Tigers scored on long runs, a 99-yard kickoff return by Gabriel Rogers and the trio of touchdown passes from White, who was booed by Tigers fans early in the second half.
After Navy took a 20-7 lead, Memphis scored three unanswered touchdowns to pull away in the second half.
During the first half, the Memphis defense, which entered the game allowing opponents an average of 226 yard, was mystified by Navy's triple option. The Midshipmen grabbed chunks of yards in the rushing game, while Perry kept the Tiger defense off balance with occasional passes, including a 17-yarde scoring toss to Chance Warren for an early lead.
It was the Navy defense that initially was living up to its billing, stifling the Memphis offense. Even when Memphis reached the red zone, a fumble stalled the drive. Penalties and a missed field goal only contributed to the Memphis woes as the Tigers collected only 98 yards of offense, including Gainwell's opening burst.
By the early stages of the second half, the Tiger faithful were booing White. Not long after that, Memphis put its offense together and the Tiger defese started to stymie the Midshipmen offense holding Navy to 81 yards of offense in the second half.