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VOL. 133 | NO. 181 | Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tigers Ready to Turn Page after Loss at Navy

By Don Wade

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Three days after losing 22-21 at Navy, University of Memphis quarterback Brady White and offensive lineman Dustin Woodard said they were eager to get back on the field.

Memphis running back Darrell Henderson (8) rushes for a touchdown past Navy safety Sean Williams, from back left, Memphis wide receiver Antonio Gibson and Navy cornerback Cameron Kinley in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, in Annapolis, Md. Navy won 22-21. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

They should be. They should also be well-rested. Memphis held the ball for just 17:13 compared to Navy’s 42:47. The combination of losing the turnover battle 4-1 and Navy’s ball-control attack kept the Tigers’ offense on the sideline most of the day.

“I’m kinda happy it’s a Friday game,” Woodard said of the Tigers’ 6 p.m. kickoff with Georgia State at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

White had a very solid debut as the Tigers overwhelmed Mercer the first week. He was only 15-of-25 for 145 yards with an interception against Navy; he completed 12-of-14 passes early and then finished by going 3-of-11.

A 21-9 Memphis lead was washed away in the rain. White was tackled on a fourth-down scramble late in the fourth quarter to end the Tigers’ chances.

Running back Darrell Henderson, who finished with 212 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 13 attempts, said postgame that that the rain essentially closed a large section of the Tigers’ playbook.

“It doesn’t matter what the conditions are, you still have got to go execute,” White said after Tuesday’s practice at South Campus. “That was a tough one, but the team showed a lot of fight. Got to eliminate the mental mistakes and own the ball offensively.”

Coach Mike Norvell took responsibility for the loss after the game – there was second-guessing about not giving Henderson the ball more often – and White had regrets, too.

“Hindsight’s 20-20,” he said. “I mean, we had it. And it slipped away.

“I personally could have executed better. Coach is gonna say he could have called some things. Other guys are gonna say they could have owned the ball. Everyone’s gonna have the thing you go back and look at on tape. At the end of the day, we didn’t do it (get the win) so you gotta learn from it.”

Georgia State opened with a 24-20 victory over Kennesaw State before losing 41-7 at North Carolina State last Saturday, Sept. 8. Norvell called the Panthers “capable” and they committed just one turnover against North Carolina State and time of possession was almost equal.

“I want to see a better sense of urgency,” Norvell said of not fumbling, “and we only got one takeaway on defense. That’s not good enough.”

Woodard was confident the offensive line will give the Tigers every opportunity to make plays on offense: “Physically, up front, we should be able to dominate them.”

Linebacker Javaris “JJ” Russell says the loss at Navy has been filed under unalterable history, but also that there are no lingering after-effects.

“Nobody’s head’s down,” he said. “We’re ready to get back.”

So is White, adding, “I’m more motivated than ever.”

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