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Memphis vs. SMU Score: Tigers Submit Mustangs First Loss in Exciting AAC Offensive Showcase

No. 24 Memphis moved one step closer to the third consecutive AAC championship game after defeating No. 15 SMU 54-48, handing the Mustangs their first loss of the season. Now the Tigers have claimed first place in the Western AAS, and with Saturday night's victory, they have become strong competitors in the New Year's bidding race at six.

Although both teams have some of the best running backs in the conference with SMU's Xavier Jones and Memphis' Kenneth Gainwell, the wild back and forth was dominated by defenders and their wide receivers making explosive plays after the catch, Shane SMU's Buchel threw for 456 yards and four touchdowns, and although Memphis continued to extend its lead in the second half, Buchelle kept the pedal down and continued to drive pressures to put pressure on the Tigers.

Memphis quarterback Brady White threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns, and he delivered a few days under duress in key situations. After the offense settled for a couple of field goals to score opportunities in the first half, White found a favorable game from the outside and connected with Antonio Gibson for a beautiful 50 meter score.

Although the lead often changed hands by this time, Memphis never relinquished control of the game after that score.

Gibson (six catches, 130 yards, one touch) and wide receiver Damonte Coxie (seven catches, 143 yards, two touchdowns) were the preferred targets for White, who has now thrown for 350 yards or more in three of Memphis. 39; last four games. White has 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions during the season, and Saturday night's game showed an increase in productivity, which may be a differentiator in directing that team to a six-year New Year's bid.

The fact that Memphis received the victory of the head does not mean that it is clear in the West by the AAC; there is definitely still work to do to make sure that it is the top-ranked group of five champions in the College Football Playoff Ranking on selection Sunday. The Tigers are due next week, but are back in action with road games in Houston and South Florida, followed by a brief reversal in the regular season finale against No. 17 in Cincinnati.

SMU will have the opportunity to jump in Memphis if the Tigers take another conference loss and the Mustangs win. The final schedule of SMU's regular season includes a home date for ECU next week, a week off and then a trip to face Navy – also in the race for the AAC West title but losing to Memphis – and then home date against Tulane. The Mustangs didn't lose everything on Saturday night, but meeting goals that came with an historic 8-0 start will be much harder after falling into the AAC game of the year.

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