(25) Memphis 47

(3-0, 2-0 away)

Arkansas State 35

(0-3, 0-1 home)

7:00 PM ET, September 18, 2004

1 2 3 4 T
#25MEM 3 13 3 2847
ARST 14 7 7 735

Top Performers

Passing: N. Noce (ARST) - 418 YDS, 4 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: D. Williams (MEM) - 31 CAR, 144 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Wood (ARST) - 8 REC, 101 YDS, 1 TD

Memphis scores 21 points in final three minutes

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) -- Two big defensive plays and frantic fourth-quarter comeback gave Memphis (No. 25 AP) its first win as a ranked team.

Tim Goodwell forced a fumble and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown with 2:22 left and the Tigers scored 21 points in the final three minutes for a 47-35 comeback victory over Arkansas State on Saturday night.

Goodwell, who dislodged the ball from Arkansas State quarterback Nick Noce, gave the Tigers (3-0) their first lead of the game, 40-35.

Then it was Scott Vogel's turn. He intercepted a deflected pass with 1:59 left to set up DeAngelo Williams' 16-yard scoring run with 59.7 seconds remaining. Williams ran for 144 yards.

"That is our game," said Tigers coach Tommy West, whose team moved into the Top 25 for the first time last week. "We got beat on a lot of man coverage and blitzing but we are a pressure football team and in the end it worked out for us.

"It is a great win for us and it feels good to win as I am sure it hurts to lose one like this for them. They played well."

Memphis is 3-0 for the first time since 1973.

The win was far more difficult than expected. The Indians (0-2) were three-touchdown underdogs who had been routed in their two previous games by Missouri and LSU.

On the second play of the game, ASU's Nick Noce hit Chuck Walker with a 65-yard scoring pass. The Indians added to that lead with 6:58 left in the quarter when he hit Jerome Stegall with a 28-yard touchdown pass.

"It was a disappointing loss, no doubt about that," Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts. "We played hard. They laid it on the line and that is all you can ask out of them. To play with effort and focus.

"We had opportunities to win the ballgame but we didn't get it done."

Noce passed for a 418 yards and four touchdowns, both school records, and Antonio Warren had 90 yards rushing for the Indians.

Wimprine had 356 yards passing and three touchdowns, two of them to Tavares Gideon.

Before Goodwell's touchdown, the Tigers had trimmed the Indians' lead to 35-33 on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Wimprine to Gideon with 2:45 left.

Arkansas State had built a 35-26 lead on Noce's 18-yard touchdown pass to Levi Dejohnette with 4:01 left.

Until the closing minutes, the Indians had an answer each time the Tigers would draw close.

After Stephen Gostkowski's fourth field goal cut the lead to 21-19 with 5:05 left in the third quarter, Arkansas State linebacker Josh Williams returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown to rebuild the lead.

On the second play of the game, Noce hit Chuck Walker with a 65-yard scoring pass.

The Indians added to that lead with 6:58 left in the quarter when Noce hit Stegall with a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Gideon caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Wimprine on the first play of the second quarter to trim the Indians' lead to 14-10.

The Indians responded with Noce's third scoring pass, a 27-yarder to Jason Wood.

Memphis was able to narrow the margin to 21-16 at halftime on a pair of field goals by Gostkowski. He hit from 41 yards and 24 yards.

The game was played before an Indian Stadium record crowd of 30,427.