Football Kicks Off 2000 Season Against Mississippi State
Sept. 1, 2000
Next Game: Mississippi State, September 2, 2000
Notes: The Tigers' 3-2 road record in 1999 marked the first winning road record since the 1983 season when Rex Dockery's team finished with a road record of 4-2 ... Memphis' five takeaways against Ole Miss in 1999 were the most by a Tiger team since 1998 ... Memphis' nine blocked kicks in 1999 tied Southern Miss for the second most in NCAA play ... Memphis tied for the 4th most improved team in the nation in 1999.
'00 Captains: selected on game-by-game basis
2000 SEASON OPENS Hopes are running high in the Memphis football camp as the Tigers prepare to open the 2000 college season against Mississippi State on September 2nd. The Tigers and the Bulldogs have opened the college season 10 times since the series began in 1951. The Bulldogs hold a 8-2 lead in season openers and a 27-11 lead in the overall series. Memphis gained its first ever SEC win against Mississippi State and that victory came in the 1962 season. The Tigers won three consecutive contests against MSU in the early 1960s but have not managed a victory since the 1993.
SCHERER GETS NEW CONTRACT Tiger head coach Rip Scherer received a contract extension on Tuesday, November 2, 1999, following the Memphis win over Tulane. Athletics director R.C. Johnson stated that the University administration had seen a great deal of improvement in the team and that Scherer had met or exceeded all but one of the criteria set down upon his hiring. His two year extension gives the 48-year old coach a full four year package, through 2003, in which to continue to rebuild the Tiger program.
TIGERS WERE 2nd IN NATION The University of Memphis special teams attained a lofty mark in the category of blocked kicks during the 1999 season. The block units registered nine blocks on the season and finished the season ranked in a tie for second in the nation. Conference USA foe Southern Mississippi had one blocked kick in the annual AXA Liberty Bowl against Colorado State to tie Memphis for second. The Nebraska Cornhuskers led the nation in blocked kicks with 10 during 1999.
TIGER DEFENSE EXCELS The University of Memphis defense, which was ranked last in Conference USA in 1998, finished the '99 season as the league's second ranked defense. The unit, which faced three SEC & a Big 12 bowl teams, including the defending national champion from last season, allowed just 314.1 yards per game as compared to 1998's figure of 455.3 per outing. The Tigers held Tennessee to just 44 yards rushing on the afternoon and 172 yards passing this past season. The defense has forced 22 turn- overs through 11 games, including three each against Tennessee and UAB.
KENDALL TOP TIGHT END University of Memphis senior tight end Billy Kendall has spent most of his career utilized as a blocker for running backs and quarterbacks. However, in be- tween the blocks, the 6'5 Kendall has man- aged to grab more pass receptions for more yards than any other tight end in Memphis football history. Entering his final season at the U of M, Kendall has caught 53 passes for 601 yards and four touchdowns. With 53 receptions the Maryland native is currently ranked 20th on the Tigers all-time reception list and is the only tight end to be listed among the school's top 25 pass receivers. His 601 yards ranks him first among all Memphis tight ends in yards receiving and his four touchdown catches ties him for first in career TD catches by a tight end. Rich Coady and Chris Powers also had four touchdown receptions as Tigers.
WHITE RECEIVES HONOR n Junior kicker Ryan White, who set several Memphis field goal records in 1999, was named to the 2000 Playboy All-America Team. The Georgia native became just the third Tiger player in school history to be named to the prestigious team. Former Ti- ger offensive tackle Harry Schuh was se- lected to the 1964 squad and All-American kicker Joe Allison received the honor in 1993. White's selection to the Playboy All- America team marked the third AA team that the soccer-styled kicker has been selected on in the past two seasons.
WHITE SETS MEMPHIS & C- USA MARK With four field goals made in the first half of the UAB game and a school record five made in the third period, Ryan White set the Memphis record for the most field goals made in a half, in a game, the most field goals attempted in a game and also set the record for the most points by a Tiger kicker in a game. He set a new Mem- phis record becoming the first Tiger in school history to kick four field goals in a half. White, who had booted four field goals in last year's Cincinnati game, shared the old Memphis single game record of four field goals with Joe Allison (1992 vs Ole Miss) and Rusty Bennett (1977 vs NTSU). His 16 points vs UAB broke the old record for points (15) by a kicker set by White in last year's Cincinnati game. His five field goals made also tied the Conference USA record for FGs in a game.
SUBER MAKES FAST ASCENT Memphis junior quarterback Neil Suber made a fast start in his climb up the chart of all-time Tiger passers. Starting the final four games of 1998, the Georgia na- tive threw for 930 yards and entered the 1999 season ranked 23rd in school history. Through the first three games of '99, Suber moved into 16th place and against Tennes- see he took a huge leap, surpassing four former Tigers. With his 222 yards passing last year against the Vols, Suber surpassed Joe Borich (1369), Rusty Trail (1370), Al Harvey (1405), and Russ Vollmer (1454). His 57 yards passing against Missouri moved Suber ahead of former Tiger Kevin Betts for 11th place.
TIGERS CREATING TURNOVERS The Tiger defense was able to force five turnovers, four fumble recoveries and an interception, against Mississippi in last year's season opener. The Tigers have forced at least one turnover in 61 of their last 69 games. Memphis has also intercepted pass in 39 of its last 60 contests but has not returned an interceptions for a touchdown since Scott Singler ran back a pick 55 yards against Arkansas State in 1994.
BLOCK PARTY Since 1990, Memphis' special teams have found a way to change the look of a game in a hurry. Over the last 119 punts, 12 field goals, 4 PAT) and has games, Memphis has blocked 42 kicks (26 blocked 22 punts in the last 78 contests. Under Scherer, the Tigers have blocked 20 kicks (10 punts, 6 field goal, 4 PATs). Mem- phis last blocked punt was by Quincy Stephenson against Southern Mississippi 1999. Memphis had three blocked kicks last season's Louisville game when Tramont Lawless and Michael Stone each knocked down field goal attempts and the team was credited with a block. Memphis again regis- tered three blocks in the last contest of the year. Lawless, Stone and nose tackle Marcus Bell had blocked kicks against Cin- cinnati in the season finale.