MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Paxton Lynch threw for 232 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for two more as Memphis defeated South Florida 31-20 on Saturday.
Lynch's two rushing scores and his 42-yard strike to Mose Frazier helped the Tigers move out to a 21-13 halftime lead. Lynch found Brandon Hayes for an 11-yard touchdown to extend the lead in the third quarter.
Hayes finished with 189 yards on 21 carries. His long of 47 came on his first touch. Frazier had three receptions for 82 yards for Memphis (8-3, 6-1 American).
Marlon Mack rushed for 102 yards on 16 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown to open the second quarter that pulled the Bulls (4-7, 3-4) within four. Lynch answered with his TD pass to Frazier.
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Mack became the first freshman to rush for 1,000 yards in a season while gaining 102 yards on 16 carries. The Sarasota native's fourth 100-yard performance of the season included a career-long, 75-yard touchdown in the first half. Mack ranks fourth on USF's single-season rushing charts with 1,009 yards with one game remaining on the 2014 schedule. His four 100-yard games are the most in a season since B.J. Daniels had four in 2009.
"Offensively we played better than we did earlier in the year. It was good to see that but we also missed some opportunities there," head coach Willie Taggart said. "That turnover (in the third quarter) really hurt us down in the red zone and defensively there were a lot of missed tackles and missed assignments that cost us, especially early in the game."
Mike White threw for 244 yards on 21-of-35 passing. Steven Bench relieved White and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Andre Davis on USF's final drive.
White exited the game with a leg injury for the final time following another hit with 4:51 remaining. The sophomore from Fort Lauderdale completed 21 of 35 passes for 244 yards after winning the competition for USF's starting job in practice this week.
"I feel like a football player," said White, declaring he was OK after the game.
USF now turns its attention to the season finale and in-state rivalry game against UCF that takes place Friday, Nov. 28 at Raymond James Stadium.
"It's a great opportunity to go into the offseason with a win, especially against a rival, and our guys will be ready," Taggart said.