MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Freshman quarterback Tyler Bray, starting his first game for Tennessee, threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns Saturday night to lead the Volunteers to a 50-14 victory over Memphis.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Tennessee (3-6), which was never threatened after the first quarter. Bray, who took over the helm last week from junior Matt Simms, picked apart the young Memphis secondary from the start.
Tauren Poole rushed for 101 yards, and scored twice — once on a 21-yard run and another on a 9-yard pass from Bray.
The Vols would end the night with 510 yards of offense, including 379 through the air. The 50 points matched Tennessee's largest scoring output of the season.
Memphis (1-8) lost its sixth straight. It marked the fifth straight game where the Tigers, ranked 118th out of 120 teams in scoring defense, have surrendered at least 40 points.
Memphis actually led 7-0 after scoring on a 4-yard pass from Ryan Williams to Marcus Rucker on the Tigers' first possession. Rucker would catch another touchdown pass from Williams late in the fourth quarter, this time for 38 yards.
Williams connected on 18 of 27 passes for 221 yards on the night.
The bulk of Bray's statistics came in the first half as he completed 17 of 28 passes for 308 yards and all five of his touchdown passes.
That helped the Vols carry a 40-7 lead into halftime.
And the Tigers were just as pitiful on both sides of the ball as the score indicated.
Tennessee already had 398 yards of offense at the break. Bray was spreading out the scoring passes, hitting Poole and Justin Hunter (42 yards) for touchdowns in the first quarter.
The second quarter scoring passes were to Denarius More (14 yards), Da'Rick Rogers (22 yards) and Gerald Jones (9 yards). Michael Palardy added field goals of 24 and 32 yards for Tennessee, which scored on every possession. except its first, in the half.
The Vols held the Tigers to 117 yards of offense, including only 8 yards rushing in the first half. Memphis finished the game with 308 yards of total offense.
Midway through the third quarter, Simms replaced Bray and was 3 of 5 for 54 yards.
In addition to Poole's 21-yard scoring run, Palardy added his third field goal of the night from 33 yards out in the second half.