Arkansas State Tops Memphis

JONESBORO, Ark.- Corey Leonard threw for three touchdowns -- all in the second half -- to lead Arkansas State to a 35-31 comeback victory over Memphis on Thursday. The Indians (2-2) rallied from a 31-6 halftime deficit, shutting out Memphis (1-3) in the second half. The Tigers were ahead by 25 points, 31-6, at halftime and allowed ASU to score 29 points in the second half.

Arkansas State quarterback Corey Leonard, a red-shirt sophomore, finished with 74 yards rushing and was 16-of-37 passing for 255 yards. Last year, he hit a 53-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass on the final play to defeat Memphis 26-23.

The Tigers, coming off a 56-20 loss to Central Florida in a game played just six days ago, had the Indians reeling from the start. They hit a 56-yard pass on their first play and had the ASU defense off stride the rest of the half, in a game that was originally scheduled to be played Sept. 8 but was postponed after several lightning delays.

The Indians' comeback began with Kevin Jones' 89-yard punt return with 8:15 left in the third quarter. Leonard threw scoring passes of 10 yards to Vernon Caitlin, 27 yards to Levi Dejohnette and 1 yard to Preston Brown that put the Indians on top for the first time in the game, with 4:31 remaining.

Memphis will not have long to lick its wounds, as the Tigers play in another five days when they host the Marshall Thundering Herd at the Liberty Bowl Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (EST) on ESPN2. Marshall is 0-4 for the first time since 1969 and this will be the Herd's Conference USA opener after losing at Miami, West Virginia, New Hampshire and at Cincinnati last Saturday.

WVU (4-0) is No. 5 in the nation, Cincinnati (4-0) jumped into the Associated Press Poll last week at No. 24 and Miami (3-1, only loss at No. 3/4 Oklahoma) is just outside the top 25 at No. 27 in the AP and No. 28 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Even the Wildcats of UNH (2-1) are No. 11 in this week's Sports Network FCS poll and the record of the team's Marshall has fallen to is 13-2.

* The last time Memphis gave up a substantial lead was in 2006 against East Carolina when the Tigers were up by 13, 20-7 at the half, and ECU came back to win the game 35-20. It was the largest halftime lead Memphis has given up in at least 48 years.
* Maurice Jones caught his second 50-yard pass of the season when he hauled in the 56-yard strike from Martin Hankins to open the game.
* Senior Joseph Doss logged his 11th career rushing touchdown when he scampered in from the one-yard line in the first quarter. The touchdown was his second rushing score of the season.
* Sophomore kicker Matt Reagan hit his first field goal of the season when he made a 32-yard kick to give Memphis the 10-3 lead with just over three minutes to go in the first quarter.
* Defensive lineman Jada Brown recorded his first career sack when he dropped Corey Leonard for seven yards on a third-and-14 play in the second quarter.
* Receiver Dave Thomas received the lateral from Martin Hankins and tossed his second career touchdown pass when he reached Steven Black for an 80-yard score to give Memphis the 17-3 advantage with 13:52 remaining in the second quarter. Thomas had previously tossed an eight-yard pass to Carlos Singleton in the Ole Miss game last season. The 80-yard pass is the longest play from scrimmage for the Tigers this season. The last time Memphis logged an 80-yard pass play was on a Hankins-to-Ryan Scott, 82-yard pass against UAB last season.
* Matt Malouf scored his third rushing touchdown of the season when he rushed one yard for a score to give Memphis a 24-6 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the first half. Malouf has been responsible for four touchdowns in four games this season as he scored from the run against Ole Miss, Jacksonville State and ASU. He also tossed a four-yard TD pass to Earnest Williams last weekend at UCF.
* Defensive lineman Freddie Barnett registered his first career fumble recovery and returned the ball 88 yards for a touchdown with just over a minute remaining in the first half. The return was the longest fumble recovery in Memphis history, surpassing the previous record of 84 yards by Corey Irby in 1999 against Louisville. The last time that Memphis returned a fumble for a touchdown was against Arkansas State in 2004 on a 10-yard return by Tim Goodwell.
* The Tigers scored on each of their four offensive drives in the first half.
* Sophomore receiver Duke Calhoun extended his receiving streak to 15 games with two receptions for five yards in tonight's game. Calhoun did not see action in last Saturday's UCF game with a knee injury.
* Running back T.J. Pitts busted off a 19-yard run for his longest run of the season. He finished the day with 11 carries for 54 yards.
* Memphis gave up a punt return for an 89-yard touchdown in the third quarter, marking the first time since 2004 (East Carolina) that a Tiger opponent had returned a punt for a score.
* Greg Terrell forced ASU quarterback Corey Leonard into a fumble and in doing so recorded his third career forced fumble. The ball was recovered by Corey Mills in his first-ever fumble recovery. Memphis has now recovered a fumble in each of the four games this season, and has registered multiple fumble recoveries in all but the Jacksonville State game.
* Receiver Carlos Singleton, who recorded his first career start tonight, extended his receiving streak to 12 games with two catches for 25 yards.
* Running back Joseph Doss had his 14-game receiving streak snapped in the game and Earnest Williams had a eight-game streak broken.

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