MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Darrell Henderson rushed for 169 yards and two long touchdowns, and Tony Pollard returned a kickoff 99 yards to lead Memphis to a 37-29 win over Louisiana Monroe in the season opener on Thursday night.
Henderson, who had just 12 carries, scored from 55 and 63 yards. Patrick Taylor had a 66-yard touchdown and finished with 131 yards on 15 carries. Both backs were at 106 yards at halftime, the first time either sophomore has topped 100 yards.
Henderson, Taylor and quarterback Riley Ferguson had rushing touchdowns for a 20-7 halftime lead before Pollard opened the second half with his school record third kickoff return. It was the second-longest in school history after his 100-yarder last year.
Memphis finished with 416 total yards, 319 on the ground but just 72 in the second half.
Warhawks quarterbacks Caleb Evans and Garrett Smith each threw for a late fourth-quarter touchdown but after each one, Memphis recovered the onside kick to run time off the clock and squelch the comeback.
Memphis picked up its fourth straight season-opening win on the ninth birthday of the Bengal Tiger mascot Tom III.