TSX: Tigers struggling badly

The Sports Xchange takes a look at the University of Memphis football up to this point. The Tigers are heavy underdogs this week as they travel up to Murfreesboro, Tenn. to play Middle Tennessee State.


There was no carryover. There was nothing, really.

A week after Memphis gained some breathing room of sorts with a 27-6 win over Austin Peay State of the Football Championship Subdivision, it all came crashing down with a 42-0 loss to SMU on Sept. 24 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Ouch. Again, Memphis' defense was shredded by a powerful passing attack. Memphis' offense showed almost no spark at all.

Tom Hornsey, the Tigers' star punter, saw work 12 times.

Memphis' offense was spectacularly bad. The Tigers collected a negative 14 yards on the ground en route to just 139 total yards.

"There are some positives, but we just have to continue to build on the subtle changes that we have made," Memphis coach Larry Porter said. "I think we will see progress."

--Memphis forced five fumbles, recovering three of them. The three recoveries are the Tigers' most since three in a win over Nicholls State in 2008.

--The Tigers had just seven first downs.

--Memphis announced a crowd of 16,748 for the game, which shows a hardy group of fans who are trying to still believe.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Keiwone Malone -- Ruled eligible prior to the loss at Arkansas State, the Alabama transfer has continued to ease himself into the team's offensive approach. Malone looked at ease at times Saturday, when he caught a 46-yard pass late in the second quarter. It's his longest catch of the year and the second-longest passing play for Memphis this season.

LOOKING GOOD: Good luck finding the positives for this team after this game. If anything, it's that eight true freshmen played, which can only bode well for the future. But even that's a stretch.

STILL NEEDS WORK: To say nothing of the defense, which gave up 42 points, would be irresponsible. But SMU will probably score 42 points on other teams this year. The zero, which is affixed to Memphis' score, is the most eye-opening part. The Tigers were "horrible" on offense, to quote coach Larry Porter. The stats back him up: 153 passing yards and a negative 14 rushing yards.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We couldn't run, we couldn't pass, we couldn't do anything. I am very disappointed." -- Memphis coach Larry Porter after his team's 42-0 loss to SMU.



--Monte Golden, a true freshman, got his first career start at center while A.J. Antonescu continues to heal from an injury. Golden is Memphis' third option at center so far this year, a situation that tells quite a bit about the team's offensive struggles.

--Bobby McCain started at cornerback in place of Bakari Hollier, who was recovering from an injury he suffered against Austin Peay State. Both players are true freshmen. McCain had two pass breakups and a tackle.

--DL Terry Redden, a true freshman, played on the defensive line. He is the eighth true freshman to play for Memphis this year and the 15th freshman to play.


--WR Tannar Rehrer continues to make moves. He led the team in receiving with five catches for 51 yards. That tied a career high.

--DB Akeem Davis had his first career interception and DL Martin Ifedi picked up his first career sack.

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