Friday Night Stripes puts a wrap on spring practice for the Tigers

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GREENVILLE, NC – NOVEMBER 03: Memphis Tigers helmet sits on the sidelines during a game between the Memphis Tigers and the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, NC on November 3, 2018. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

MEMPHIS — Memphis football concluded its 2021 spring practice schedule with the Friday Night Stripes spring game inside Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.  

The defense had interceptions by Rodney Owens and Julian Barnett and kept the offense out of the end zone on seven of the 10 drives over the two-quarter scrimmage.  

Offensively, the Tigers had most of their success on the ground as they rushed for 205 yards with an average of five yards per carry. Rodrigues Clark led the team with 82 yards on 17 carries. Marquavius Weaver added 58 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown, while Brandon Thomas had eight carries for 44 yards.  

The defense forced a turnover on downs on the opening drive of the game following a 13-play drive. Owens’ interception followed three plays later as he undercut a deep pass by quarterback Peter Parrish. 

The offense reached the end zone for the first time on its third drive with a four-yard pass from Grant Gunnell to Calvin Austin III with 3:11 remaining the first quarter. 

Defensive stops on the next two drives were following by an impressive six-play, 65-yard touchdown drive. The rushing attack led the way, accounting for 47 of the yards. Weaver capped the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run. He had a 19-yard carry the play before his touchdown run as he covered 35 yards on consecutive rushes. 

The defense held strong once again on the seventh drive, forcing a turnover on downs after four plays despite allowing a nine-yard gain on first down. Defensive tackle Kajuan Robinson cut into the backfield and recorded a tackle for loss on fourth-and-1 to end the drive. 

A 1-yard quarterback sneak by Seth Henigan finished an 11-play, 60-yard touchdown drive to give the offense its final score of the night. The true freshman from Denton, Texas, is an early enrollee with Tigers this spring. 

Barnett’s interception finished the game one drive after the defense forced another turnover on downs. Barnett was playing in front of a Liberty Bowl crowd for the first time after transferring from Michigan State following last season. 

Three kickers attempted a combined four 38-yard field goals between quarters. Noah Grant made his first attempt and missed his second. Caleb Hawkins and Austin McCready each made their only attempt. Hawkins and McCready also each made an extra point. 

The Tigers will open their 2021 season Sept. 4 against Nicholls State at the Liberty Bowl. 

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