MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- DeAngelo Williams had a day full of
records, but Memphis coach Tommy West was just as pleased his
Tigers showed they could overcome a loss.
Memphis (4-1, 1-1 Conference USA) used four touchdowns by
Williams and a school-record 262 yards rushing Saturday to defeat
Houston 41-14. The convincing win showed the Tigers could rebound
after suffering their first loss of the season at UAB a week
"Our players responded to a loss unbelievable, I think," West
said. "We could have easily felt sorry for ourselves. Our perfect
season was gone and everything else. The world was coming to an
end. But we didn't fall for it."
The Tigers went back to throwing the ball and handing off to
Williams in a one-back set. The 5-foot-10 junior responded by
breaking a single-game rushing record held by Paul "Skeeter"
Gowen since 1969. Williams' touchdowns came on runs of 24, 39 and a
pair of 3-yarders.
If not for a rather insignificant fourth-quarter Houston
touchdown -- a 56-yard pass from Kevin Kolb to Vincent Marshall --
Williams may have never gotten a shot at Gowen's mark.
West was prepared to take his starters out until the Cougar
touchdown cut the Tiger lead to 34-14 with about nine minutes left.
"I put him back in the game because I thought we had to have a
couple of first downs just to run some clock," West said. "I was
not aware he was about to break that record, ...(but) I'm tickled
to death he broke it."
The record-breaking run came on Williams' fourth touchdown, also
tying a school record for touchdowns in a game.
Earlier, Williams broke the career rushing mark previously held
by Dave Casinelli, the Tiger fullback who rushed for 2,636 from
1960-63. With Saturday's performance, Williams has 2,866 and was
given the game ball after the Houston win. He plans to hand off the
ball to the Casinelli family.
If that wasn't enough, Williams also set a mark for rushing
yards against a Houston offense, breaking the mark of 246 set by
LSU's Kevin Faulk in 1996.
Houston's only other score came on a 75-yard interception by
Willie Gaston. The Cougars ( 1-4, 1-1) managed 285 of offense, but
only 65 on the ground.
"We definitely had a hard time maintaining momentum," Houston
coach Art Briles said.
Memphis, which had struggled offensively in the first half of
previous games, got untracked early. The Tigers jumped out to a
21-0 halftime lead after Williams scored twice and quarterback
Danny Wimprine hooked up with Chris Kelley for a 27-yard touchdown.
Memphis kicker Stephen Gostkowski had a pair of second-half field
goals, from 47 and 30 yards, to round out the Tiger scoring.
The difference, West said, was a change in attitude, where they
start thinking about throwing the ball "getting off the bus."
"We told our guys that we were going to come in and let it
loose," West said. "You've got to respond and make it happen.
Just because you come in there and let it fly, doesn't mean it will
work. The players have got to make it work."
A reeling Houston team doesn't have much time to work out the
kinks. They face Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg Thursday.
"It was sporadic play calling on my part, and we did not have
our team totally prepared," Briles said of the Memphis game. "It
was a deal where I did not do a good job, but I thought our players