Together, they traveled more than 3,500 miles to the warmer weather of South Florida.
But after Memphis won a double-overtime thriller against BYU, 55-48, the Miami Beach Bowl became the scene of a large brawl involving players from both programs.
The fight erupted in the immediate postgame celebration. It was unclear who threw the first punch.
"I don't know what happened, so I don't know how upset I am," Memphis coach Justin Fuente told ESPN. "That's not who we are."
How the game was won: No one is going to make the argument that Memphis’ defense played a great game. At least no one should. But despite surrendering 48 points and 425 yards, give some credit to the Tigers, which found a way to wrestle the ball away from BYU time and time again. In the end, four turnovers yielded 14 points for Memphis, including a game-deciding interception in overtime.
Game ball goes to: The running game was less than spectacular, but Paxton Lynch found a way. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound sophomore quarterback used his legs as well as his arm to will Memphis to a win. He finished with 344 yards (306 passing and 38 rushing) and seven total touchdowns, three of which came on the ground.
It was over when: Before this week, Jake Elliott was the best place-kicker no one had ever heard of. But the sophomore can’t live in anonymity any longer. After missing a 53-yard field goal attempt -- hitting the crossbar in the third quarter -- he came on in overtime with Memphis needing a miracle. From 55 yards out, he drilled a kick well through the uprights to send the game into a second overtime.
Stat of the game: For as porous as Memphis’ secondary was at times, its front seven was stifling, limiting BYU to 77 rushing yards on 42 carries (1.8 yards per rush).
Best play: Lynch wasn’t going to be denied. Neither was Keiwone Malone. On fourth-and-goal, with Memphis trailing by seven points with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Lynch hung in the pocket, scrambling for what felt like an eternity. Finally, after eight excruciating seconds, he pointed to his tight end and threw up a prayer. Instead of finding his intended target, Malone answered, hauling in the game-tying touchdown reception.