Seeking a Reversal of Fortune
Go Tigers! The Tigers are back in action at the Liberty Bowl Saturday evening when they play host to Middle Tennessee.
Go Tigers!
The Tigers are back in action at the Liberty Bowl Saturday evening when they play host to Middle Tennessee.
Go Tigers!

Sept. 14, 2012

Gameday Central
Link to Game Notes

Memphis will look for a reversal of fortunate in its series with Middle Tennessee as well as the opening weeks of the 2012 season on Saturday when the Tigers and Blue Raiders meet on the gridiron for the 25th time. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

The game will be broadcast on the Memphis Radio Network and flagship station WREC 600 as well as streamed via

Last season Middle Tennessee was able to drive down the field in the final two minutes for a late, game-winning score to beat the University of Memphis. The game was one of three last year in which the Tigers lost by seven points or less.

Middle Tennessee has won three of the last four meetings in its series with Memphis and this week, the Blue Raiders are coming off a 31-17 win over Florida Atlantic in the team's Sun Belt Conference opener to even its record to 1-1.

"They have some well-respected coaches in this business over there," Memphis head coach Justin Fuente said of the Blue Raiders. "They'll be a very well-coached, disciplined, tough football team."

Memphis is off to an 0-2 start with its two losses being decided by a total of eight points. Last week, Arkansas State had to come from behind to beat the Blue and Gray 33-28.

"I feel like the (Arkansas State) game hurt some of them, which is a good thing," Fuente said earlier in the week about his team. "When you become more invested in something and it doesn't go right, it hurts more. Sometimes people won't get fully invested in something because they don't want to put themselves out there if it doesn't work out. I feel like our guys right now are that hurt."



Offensively in last week's win over Florida Atlantic, the bulk of the Middle Tennessee's offense came on the ground. The rushing tandem of Jordan Parker and Drayton Calhoun combined for 221 yards and became the first MT duo to reach 100 yards each in a game since 2009.

Through two games, Parker has now rushed for a team-leading 156 yards. The freshman is averaging 6.0 yards a carry.

"They played really well last week," Fuente said. "They've basically been a tale of two offenses. The first week they threw the ball and this last week they had two rushers over 100 yards. They've got some explosive playmakers."

Junior quarterback Logan Kilgore has completed 37-of-55 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns through two games. He attempted 41 passes and threw for 240 yards in the season-opening loss to McNeese State. Senior receiver Anthony Amos has caught 12 passes for 172 yards including four receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns last week against FAU.

The Blue Raider defense has been led by junior linebacker Roderick Blunt who has 20 tackles through the first two games of the 2012 season. Junior strong safety Jajuan Harley has come back from a hamstring injury during camp to register19 in the opening weeks of the season.

Both Memphis and Middle Tennessee field young teams.

Middle Tennessee has only 11 scholarship seniors on its roster. The total ranks tied for the eighth-fewest seniors on an FBS roster this year. Memphis' senior class numbers only 14 which ranks tied for the 18th-smallest senior class in FBS.

Memphis sophomore Keiwone Malone is coming off a 90-yard receiving game against Arkansas State and through two games has caught nine passes for 123 yards. Junior quarterback Jacob Karam has completed 26-of-52 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Jerrell Rhodes is the Tigers' leading rusher with 37 carries for 176 yards.

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Charles Harris is coming off his second straight double-figure tackle game and has 25 stops through two games. Junior safety Lonnie Ballentine posted a15-tackle performance at Arkansas State last week and has 23 tackles along with two interceptions through two games.

Following Saturday's game, Memphis closes out nonconference play next Saturday at Duke. A 6 p.m. Eastern kickoff was announced for the game earlier in the week. After traveling to Duke and an open week, the Tigers will open Conference USA play Oct. 6 when they play host to Rice.

Pouncer's Pals members and one guest will receive free admission to Saturday's game. Included in the Pouncer's Pals promotion, will be a 4:30 p.m. tailgate in the Tiger Scholarship Fund tent and a pre-game march-around on the field beginning at approximately 5:30 p.m. CLICK HERE for more information.

In addition to the game broadcast and streaming, fans can follow in-game updates Saturday night via Twitter at @TigersMedia and the hashtag #MEMFB.

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