Cats Meet In Memphis For Football Homecoming
CATS MEET IN MEMPHIS
The University of Memphis Tiger football team and the Cougars of the University of Houston will meet in Memphis, Tennessee, marking the 13th time in the series that the two schools have played. Houston holds a 7-5 lead in the series that dates back to the 1963 season. The Cougars won the last meeting between the two schools, knocking off the U of M 35-14 in Houston, Texas. The Tigers last defeated Houston, 24-3, during the 1997 season. That contest was played in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The Tigers, who are coming off a disappointing 13-9 loss to UAB, are 4-3 on the 2000 season and have a 2-2 Conference USA record. Houston comes to town with a 2-4 record and are 1-1 in C-USA play. The Cougars were open last week and will be trying to rebound from a 48-31 loss to Cincinnati on October 7th.
TIGER DEFENSE EXCELS
The University of Memphis defense, which climbed from a 106 ranking in 1998 to the 23rd spot in the nation in 1999, jumped to the number two position in defensive ratings after two weeks of the college football season and are now ranked seventh according to the NCAA. In the season opener against SEC foe Mississippi State University, the Tiger defense limited the Bulldogs to just 127 yards in total offense. Mississippi State managed a mere 45 yards rushing and 82 yards passing. In the Louisiana-Monroe contest, the defensive unit gave up 176 yards in total offense and just 44 yards on the ground. The stop troops registered three pass interceptions, one fumble recovery, four quarterback sacks and eight tackles for lost yardage in the Army win.
SCHERER LEADS TEAM TO WIN
University of Memphis sophomore quarterback Scott Scherer, the son of head coach Rip Scherer, was called on to start his first collegiate contest against Conference USA's number one team, East Carolina. The walk-on signal-caller responded by leading the team on three first quarter scores and an eventual 17-10 victory. Scherer had worked as a quarterback in just three games before the ECU contest. In 1999, he came into the UAB game for an injured Travis Anglin and later led the Tigers to a TD in the final drive of the Tulane victory. This season he appeared in the Louisiana-Monroe game as a quarterback on the final series. Against ECU, Scherer completed his first six passes and ended the game hitting on 18-of-25 pass attempts for 175 yards. In addition, he ran for the Tigers' second score of the game. Scherer started the UAB game and ran for the Tigers' only touchdown of the game.
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 between the blocks, the 6'5 Kendall has managed 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 had caught 53 passes for 601 yards and four touchdowns. He opened the 2000 season with one reception for nine yards against Mississippi State and added two catches for 15 yards in the win over LA-Monroe. Kendall had a team leading 40 yards on four receptions in the Tigers' win over Arkansas State. His 65 receptions places the Maryland native in a tie for 15th on the Tigers all-time reception list. He is the only tight end to be listed among the school's top 25 pass receivers. His 715 yards ranks him first among all Memphis tight ends in yards receiving and his five touchdown catches gives him the record for most TD catches by a tight end. Rich Coady and Chris Powers had four touchdown receptions as Tigers.
WHITE RECEIVES HONOR
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 Tiger offensive tackle Harry Schuh was selected 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 1999 UAB game and a school record fifth 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 Memphis record becoming the first Tiger in school history to kick four field goals in a half. White, who had booted four field goals in the '98 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.
SANDERS HAS CAREER DAY
Tiger tailback Sugar Sanders, who had battled an ankle injury all season, appeared healthy in the Tigers' win over ECU. The Miami, FL, native rushed the ball 29 times for a career high 132 yards, which included a six yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Sanders' 132 yards were a career high for the sophomore, surpassing his 96 yards rushing against Arkansas State this season. His 29 rushing attempts were second only to his 31 rushes in the ASU win. Sanders leads the team in rushing with 76 carries for 339 yards. He is averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
TIGERS CREATING TURNOVERS
The Tiger defense was able to force four turnovers, two fumble recovery and two interceptions, against East Carolina. The Tigers have forced at least one turnover in 68 of their last 76 games. Memphis has also intercepted a pass in 44 of its last 67 contests. The Tigers had their first interception return for a TD since the 1994 season when Idrees Bashir picked off an Army pass and returned it a record setting 100 yards.
Since 1990, Memphis' special teams have found a way to change the look of a game in a hurry. Over the last 126 games, Memphis has blocked 44 kicks (27 punts, 13 field goals, 4 PAT) and has blocked 23 punts in the last 85 contests. Under Scherer, the Tigers have blocked 22 kicks (11 punts, 7 field goal, 4 PATs). Memphis last blocked punt was by Quincy Stephenson and it came against LA-Monroe this season. Stephenson also recorded the Tigers' final block of the '99 campaign against Southern Mississippi. Memphis had three blocked kicks in 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 registered three blocks in the last contest of the year. Lawless, Stone and nose tackle Marcus Bell had blocked kicks against Cincinnati in the season finale.
Tiger punter Ben Graves set several personal best in the season opener against Mississippi State. He hit career highs for number of punts (10), game average (44.2) and yards (442). His 442 yards were the second highest single game total in Memphis football history. The 442 yards surpassed Hugh Owens' 433 yards against Texas A&M in 1978. The all-time Tiger record is 492 yards, also by Owens against Texas A&M in 1979. Graves punted 11 times in the USM game, which tied for the fifth most in a single game in Tiger history.
Ben Graves' 64 yard punt against UAB was a career long for the Mississippi native.
Neil Suber's 930 yards passing in 1998 marked the most yards passing by a Tiger freshman in the history of the school.
Over the past seven years, Memphis has a record of 39-10 when leading at the half.
The Memphis Tigers had seven players named to Lindy's Football Magazine Preseason All-Conference USA Team. Tabbed on the first unit were offensive tackle Artis Hicks, nose tackle Marcus Bell, linebacker Kamal Shakir, safety Idrees Bashir and All-American kicker Ryan White. Offensive tackle DeCorye Hampton and strong safety Fred Powell were named to the second team.
Tiger tailback Dernice Wherry started his first game as a Tiger when Memphis opened the season against Mississippi State. The former all-state (TN) running back responded with 35 yards rushing on 13 attempts against the number one defense in the nation from '99. The speedster led the U of M in rushing against ULM with 75 yards on 17 carries but was injured. Wherry missed the ASU and Army games but returned for USM.
Tiger linebacker Kamal Shakir was named to The Sporting News Freshman All-America Team in 1997. His first team selection by TSN was the first by a rookie Tiger in the school's history. He is a preseason All-Conference USA selection at linebacker this year and is listed as a Dick Butkus candidate.
The U of M may have the most talented defensive secondary the squad has fielded since the 1970s. Four starters return for the 2000 season including preseason All-Conference USA selection Idrees Bashir at free safety. Joining Bashir are corners Marcus Smith and Michael Stone and strong safety Glenn Sumter. Stone is the only senior starting in the secondary.
Ryan White's 52-yard field goal against Cincinnati in 1998 tied for the longest field goal made in Memphis history. The record was shared by Luis Tejada (vs Ole Miss, 1994) and Don Glosson (vs Florida State, 1985). The kick was White's first 50 plus yard attempt of his career.
Placekicker Ryan White set several Memphis kicking records during his freshman season in 1998. He booted 16 consecutive field goals setting a new Memphis benchmark. The old Tiger record for consecutive field goals was 15 by former kicker Don Glosson (1983-85). Glosson booted his 15 consecutive FGs in 1994.
The University of Memphis will have six graduates playing for the squad this season. That number tied the University for third in the nation for number of students in graduate school.
Tiger All-American placekicker Ryan White booted four field goals in the Tigers' 19-17 win over Arkansas State. The four FGs made marked the seventh multiple FG game in White's career. His last field goal of the ASU contest came with 0:49 remaining in the game and gave the Tigers their second win of the season. It was White's first career last second winning kick.
Freshman quarterback Matt Adams, the grandson of former Tiger head coach Fred Pancoast, entered fall camp not fully recovered from shoulder surgery in May of 2000. He participated in fall camp but due to a lack of rehabilitation time, has decided to return to his home in Pensacola, FL. Adams will return to Memphis in January to begin his college career.
Linebacker Kamal Shakir's 18 tackle effort against Army marked the second time this year that the Georgia native logged double-digit tackles. Shakir totaled eight double-digit games in 1999 and has 16 career games with ten or more total hits. His all-time single game high is a 20 tackle (12 solos & eight assist) effort against Army in 1999.
Memphis quarterback Neil Suber completed 20-of-31 pass attempts in Memphis' 26-16 victory over Army. His 20 completions were a career high to date for the Georgia native breaking his old mark of 17 against Tulane in 1998. Suber's 31 pass attempts were the second highest total of his career at the time falling one shy of his 32 attempts against Ole Miss in 1999.
Junior quarterback Neil Suber quietly entered his name in the Memphis record book during the Southern Mississippi game. The Georgia native completed 23-of-38 pass attempts for 161 yards. His 23 completions tie for the sixth highest total in school history. Suber's 38 pass attempts against the Golden Eagles tied for the eighth most in a single game by a Tiger.
Junior tight end Billy Kendall has a personal best six pass receptions (for 66 yards) in a single game. He accomplished the feat in the Tigers win over Arkansas State in 1999. Kendall's 66 yards versus ASU ranks as the third highest of his career. His top career yardage performance came in the '99 finale when he had 78 yards receiving against Cincinnati.
Tiger tailback Sugar Sanders has had seven starts in his brief career and six have resulted in wins for the Tigers. In his first collegiate start ('99) Sanders rushed for 94 yards against Arkansas State. It was just his second collegiate game and his first extended playing time. Sanders was called on to start the UAB game in Birmingham and responded by scoring his first career touchdown. The Miami native was slated to start the 2000 season opener against Mississippi State but was slowed in camp by an ankle injury. He started the ULM contest and rushed for 43 yards and led the Tigers to victory against ASU with 31 carries for 96 yards. Sanders had a career long 62-yard touchdown run in the UM win over Army. The sophomore had 29 rushes for a career high 132 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers' win over ECU.
Tiger defensive back Glenn Sumter recorded his first career pass interception of the 2000 season against Louisiana Monroe in the Tigers' second game of the season. He came back the following week and had a pick against Arkansas State and registered his third interception of the season in the Tigers' win over Army. The Detroit, MI, native sealed the ECU win with yet another interception. The redshirt sophomore now has four on the season and is 8th in the nation. His three consecutive games with an interception mark the first time since the 1996 season that a Tiger defensive back has had interceptions in three consecutive games. Keith Spann had picks in the final three games of 1996.
Tiger quarterback Neil Suber threw for 187 yards in the Army victory raising his career total for passing yards to 2,069. In doing so, the junior became the 10th Tiger player in the history of the school to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a career.
Junior flanker Bunkie Perkins has shown continued improvement with each game he has played this season. The Vicksburg, Mississippi, native had a season high five pass receptions for a season high 50 yards in the Tigers game with Southern Mississippi. He increased his personal best totals to six catches and 85 yards in the Memphis victory over ECU. He leads the team in number of receptions with 20.
Wide receiver Ryan Johnson took over the punt return duties for the Army game in 1999 and has maintained that role for the Tigers in 2000. The sophomore had a career best 62 yards in returns against Southern Mississippi this season breaking his old mark of 19 yards against Army in 1999. The 62 yards is the most by a Tiger since Damien Dodson's 94 yards in punt returns against Houston in 1997.
Memphis' win over UAB in Birmingham last season broke a streak of 16 consecutive road losses. Prior to the UAB victory, Memphis had not won a road game since September 14, 1996, when the U of M defeated Missouri 19-16 in Columbia.
Memphis quarterback Travis Anglin returned for fall camp 2000 after having spent the summer rehabilitating his right shoulder. Anglin missed most of spring practice after having shoulder surgery to repair a torn capsular in his throwing shoulder. The Georgia native remained in Memphis all summer working with Tiger trainer Ed Cantler to rehab and strengthen his shoulder. He completed eight passes in the season opener and improved with 11 completions in the win over ULM. Anglin was 6-of-10 against Arkansas State before being injured.
Sophomore tailback Sugar Sanders' 62-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of the Army game was the longest of his career and marked the longest run by a Tiger back since Larry Porter ran 66-yards for a score against Arkansas State in 1993.
On September 16th, Ryan White was named the C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week for his four FGs against Arkansas State. In October of 1999, White was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week for his work against UAB. White booted a school record five field goals against the Blazers. He received the honor three times last season and has earned the Player of the Week Award five times in his two-plus year career.
Junior cornerback Marcus Smith registered his first career pass interception against UAB in 1999. Smith came into the game to replace injured defensive back Reginald Howard, who suffered a broken neck. He finished the contest with five tackles and one interception. Howard recovered and was signed by the Carolina Panthers (NFL) and Smith, who was pressed into service, is considered one of the best cover corners in Tiger history. Smith had three tackles and a pass breakup against Mississippi State but has battled an ankle injury throughout the season.
Tiger kicker Ryan White finished the 1999 season as the 35th ranked kicker in the country according to NCAA statistics. White averaged 1.18 field goals made per game. He made his long attempt of 36 yards against Mississippi State to provide Memphis with its only points. White connected on four-of-four field goal attempts in the win over ASU. The All-American kicked a 36-yarder against Southern Miss for the Tiger's only points and added a 20-yard field goal in the East Carolina victory.
Idrees Bashir's 44-yard fumble return against Tennessee last season stands as the third longest fumble return in Memphis school history.
Cornerback Michael Stone had his first career blocked kick in last year's Louisville game. Stone blocked a field goal attempt in the third period of the contest.
Sophomore fullback/tailback Darche' Epting registered his career high for rushes and yards in the Memphis win over Army. The redshirt from Dallas, Texas, had 19 carries for 66 yards against the Black Knights. The 19 attempts broke his old mark of 10 vs Mississippi State this year. His 66 yards were also a career high surpassing his old total of 22 yards against the Bulldogs. Epting also tallied his third rushing touchdown of the season against Army.
Freshman tailback Jeremiah Bonds, who was pressed into service in the Arkansas State game due to injuries to tailback Sugar Sanders and Dernice Wherry, has become an impressive member of the Tiger backfield. The true freshman rushed the ball 11 times for 44 yards against Southern Mississippi and caught three passes for 34 yards. His rushing totals represented career highs for the Huntsville, Alabama, native.
Flanker Bunkie Perkins came to Memphis with great junior college credentials. After a slow start, Perkins set career highs for receptions and yards against Army. The Mississippi native caught four passes for 37 yards in the Memphis win. Perkins broke those marks against USM with five catches for 50 yards and increased his total to six receptions and 85 yards in the ECU game.
Senior tight end Billy Kendall was named to Lindy's Preseason All C-USA Team.
The Tigers have several nationally ranked players on this year's squad. According to Lindy's Football Magazine nose tackle Marcus Bell is the 15th ranked defensive lineman in the nation. Inside linebacker Kamal Shakir is the 15th ranked linebacker and safety Idrees Bashir is ranked 18th defensive back in the country. Memphis' highest ranked player is kicker Ryan White who is tabbed as the 4th best kicker in the country.
Tiger quarterback and special teams member Scott Scherer, the son of head coach Rip Scherer, gained the team's first turnover of the 2000 season. When the Tigers were forced to punt on the first series of the game, Scherer and freshman snapper Jared Pigue raced downfield and jumped on a fumbled ball by Mississippi State's Dicenzo Miller. Scherer came out of the pile with the ball.
ANGLIN HAD GOOD START
Memphis quarterback Travis Anglin made his first collegiate start against Tulane University in 1999 and the Columbus, Georgia, native made the most of his opportunity. Showing the poise of a veteran, Anglin set career highs as he completed 16-of-23 pass attempts for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Anglin started the final four games of the season and helped the Tigers win three of the four contests. The redshirt sophomore started his fifth consecutive contest when he opened the season against Mississippi State and gained his fourth victory in six starts when he led the Tigers to a 24-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe. Anglin led the Tigers to a win over ASU in his seventh start but was injured in the second half and has missed several games. He returned to the field for one series at UAB.
WHITE TWO TIME GROZA CANDIDATE
Junior kicker Ryan White was again named as one of twenty semifinalists for last year's Lou Groza Award. It marked the second consecutive year that the Tiger kicker received the honor.
ANGLIN CLIMBS CAREER LIST AT EARLY AGE
University of Memphis sophomore quarterback Travis Anglin has started just seven games in his young career. However, he has already notched his name on the Memphis career passing list and is set to start passing some legendary Tiger signal-callers. In the Louisiana-Monroe victory, Anglin threw for just 80 yards and added 55 yards in the ASU win, but those yards, coupled with his 922 yards entering the game, give the Georgia native 1,056 career passing yards. He is now in 20th place on the Memphis career passing list moving ahead of Andy Whitwell. He needs just 11 yards to surpass Ricky Thurow (1,067/1967-69).
WHITE CLOSES IN ON C-USA RECORD BOOK
Junior kicker Ryan White is currently ranked eighth on Conference USA's career scoring list. The junior kicker has 160 career points. Former Tulane kicker Brad Palazzo is the Conference's all-time leading scorer with 255 points. White is ranked fourth in field goals attempted on C-USA's career list and second in career field goals made. He currently holds the conference career record for field goal percentage (82.9%).
SHAKIR COULD SET CONFERENCE TACKLE MARK
Senior middle linebacker Kamal Shakir could become Conference USA's all-time leading tackler by the end of his final season. The Georgia native has registered 297 tackles during his first three seasons. His 143 tackle effort last year moved him into fourth place on the C-USA career list. Former Southern Mississippi linebacker T.J. Slaughter is the current record holder with 383 hits. Shakir will need 87 tackles this season to overtake Slaughter. He now has 63 on the season.
SUBER CLIMBS RECORD LIST
Junior quarterback Neil Suber doesn't talk a lot. He lets his play on the football field speak for itself. This year he has quietly climbed in the Tiger's career passing record categories. Suber's 379 career pass attempts ranked him sixth and his 194 career completions are the fifth highest in school history. With his 38 attempts against Southern Miss, he overtook David Fowler (1972-74) for sixth in career attempts. Suber's 23 completions against the Golden Eagles vaulted him into fifth place ahead of Fowler for career completions.
SANDERS TOTES THE PIGSKIN
Sophomore tailback Sugar Sanders set career highs for rushes and yards in the Tigers' win over Arkansas State. The Miami, FL, native rushed the ball 31 times for 96 yards, both career benchmarks. Sanders' 31 rushes tied for the ninth-highest single game total in school history. He set a new career high for yardage with his 132 yards effort against ECU.
SANDERS HAS LONG RUN
Sophomore tailback Sugar Sanders 62-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of the Army game was the longest run by a Tiger back since Larry Porter raced 66-yards against Arkansas State in 1993.
ARNOLD LEADS SACK ATTACK
Memphis junior defensive end Andre Arnold is trying to fill the shoes of former UM defensive ends Tramont Lawless and Marquis Bowling. Both Lawless and Bowling raised the bar for career sacks. Bowling set a new record during his senior year when he registered his 20th sack. Lawless surpassed Bowling during his senior year when he got his 21st career sack. Now Arnold is hot on their trail as he has recorded ten QB sacks in seven games and has 12 career sacks.
SCHERER HAS CAREER NIGHT
Sophomore quarterback Scott Scherer set numerous career highs in the ECU game, including pass attempts (25), pass completions (18), passing yards (175), rushing touchdowns (1), rushing attempts (13), long rush from scrimmage (10), and longest pass completions (26).