5 Thoughts On The Miami Beach Bowl

5 Thoughts and what's next for the Miami Beach Bowl

Dec. 22 Miami Beach Bowl
Memphis 55, BYU 48 2OT

And You Care Because … In the second overtime, Memphis took the lead on a Paxton Lynch 11-yard touchdown pass to Roderick Proctor, and BYU couldn’t answer as Christian Stewart’s pass was picked off by DaShaughn Terry on the second play of the Cougars’ attempt. Lynch forced overtime on a five-yard touchdown pass to Keiwone Malone on fourth down with 45 seconds to play in regulation, and after BYU’s Trevor Samson hit a 45-yard kick in the first overtime, MU’s Jake Elliott answered with a bomb of a 54-yard field goal to force the second OT. It was a wild back-and-forth shootout all game long with Stewart throwing three touchdown passes and Lynch four, but the two quarterbacks also made a slew of big mistakes with the teams combining for nine turnovers including a 19-yard pick six from BYU’s Zach Stout for a seven-point lead with just under eight minutes to play. Good field position led to the late Memphis touchdown to force overtime.
What Else? Memphis QB Paxton Lynch completed 24-of-46 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions, and ran 13 times for 38 yards and three scores
- BYU QB Christian Stewart completed 23-of-48 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns with three picks
- Fourth down conversions: Memphis 3-of-3 – BYU 2-of-2
- Turnovers: Memphis 5 – BYU 4
Game Rating: A

By Pete Fiutak
1. Yeah, THAT’S what you want out of an early bowl game. After all the schlock and all of the boredom of an awful first Saturday of bowl games, the Miami Beach Bowl gave the world exactly what it wanted and needed on a Monday afternoon. Forget the empty seats and blow off the inaugural factor of yet another bowl game, this was as clutch and as fun as it gets with big plays on both sides, late heroics, a bomb of a field goal from Jake Elliott to keep Memphis alive, a huge day from Christian Stewart and the BYU offense, and in the end, a massive victory for the American Athletic Conference. Memphis had a good, strong season, and now this seals it. Going 10-3 with a bowl win over a solid, mature BYU team makes the year for the Tigers and helps the conference, but this was fun no matter what. Finally, we got a good bowl game. We needed it.

2.Rich Cirminiello … COMING

3. By Pete Fiutak
It’s impossible, and not really fair, to judge a team by its bowl game, but for BYU after a rocky season, this has to sting. The school gets to keep all of its money as an independent, but with Utah blowing away Colorado State in the Las Vegas, and Utah State showing up big in a 21-6 New Mexico win over UTEP, losing like BYU did is going to sour a resilient year. After streaking to start with a 4-0 run, and with the 0-4 middle and a 4-0 finish, it seemed like a win in the bowl would’ve been a nice consolation prize to bigger dreams that might have been possible had Taysom Hill stayed healthy. But the program knew it was going to the Miami Beach Bowl right after the one loss to Utah State – and after getting bowl eligible – and this was it. This was the reward. Instead, with no conference title to play for and with the bowl tie-in already set, a heartbreaking loss is going to hurt. Fine, so the bowl was merely a glorified exhibition, but nine wins would’ve been nice.

4. What’s next for BYU
When is Taysom Hill going to be back and healthy? Christian Stewart is a senior, but McCoy Hill is a 6-6, 230-pound passer who could make the BYU offense shine if Hill isn’t back to normal. With Jamaal Williams out, Algernon Brown showed in the bowl that he could handle the workload, and he might be featured even more along with Mitchell Juergens. Missions always make things interesting in terms of the depth chart, but four starters are projected to be back up front, while three of the top four targets for the passing game return.

BYU always experiences big turnover and ends up fine on defense, but the loss of FS Skye PoVey and linebacker Zac Stout will be felt. Fortunately, the entire front three is back along with three starters in a good secondary. Kicker Trevor Samson and punter Scott Arellano are gone.

5. What’s next for Memphis
With QB Paxton Lynch returning along with almost all of his top targets, the Tiger passing game should be terrific from the start. Four starters are back to a good O line that only loses right tackle Al Bond, and while leading rusher Brandon Hayes is done, Jarvis Cooper and Sam Craft should be able to pick up the slack. Lynch can run a little bit, too.

The outstanding defense takes a massive hit with the top five tacklers gone including linebackers Tank Jakes and Charles Harris. Ends Ernest Suttles and Jackson Dillon are gone from the outside, but tackles Martin Ifredi and Terry Redden will be missed. Free safety Reggis Ball is the only returning starter to the secondary that has some major reworking to do. Kicker Jake Elliott and punter Spencer Smith are both back.

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