The Tigers (2-6, 1-3 Conference USA) trailed 17-14 before scoring 19 unanswered points in the second half to pull away. A 79-yard interception return for a touchdown by Bobby McCain gave Memphis the lead for good at 20-17 with 8:51 to play in the third quarter. Reed, who passed for 213 yards, scored on a 1-yard run minutes later for the Tigers, who beat Tulane for the sixth straight time.
It was the most points scored by the Tigers, who snapped a four-game losing streak, since they had 35 on Oct. 10, 2009, against Texas-El Paso.
Ryan Griffin passed for 377 yards and a touchdown for Tulane, which lost in the debut of interim head coach Mark Hutson. He is replacing Bob Toledo, who resigned on Tuesday.