The Bright Side With Jeff Brightwell
Nov. 25, 2011
MEMPHIS, TENN. -
BY: JEFF BRIGHTWELL, Learfield Sports
The Memphis Tigers wrap up the 2011 season Saturday afternoon in Hattiesburg, Miss., when they face Southern Miss at 3 p.m. at M.M. Roberts Stadium. Memphis is coming off another close loss while the Golden Eagles were upset by UAB last week.
The Tigers saw Marshall score the last 13 points of the game last Thursday as the Herd edged Memphis 23-22 at the Liberty Bowl and head coach Larry Porter has already put last week behind and is looking ahead to Saturday.
"When you look at Friday when the team reported and we kind of put this game behind us, our spirit and attitude was there," said Porter. "Again, I think we'll be ready to pursue victory this week. We have no choice."
With an injury to starting quarterback Taylor Reed, Andy Summerlin will get the start against Southern Miss on Saturday. Summerlin has played in four games, starting the season opener against Mississippi State, so Porter is very comfortable in the redshirt-sophomore.
"Andy has prepared every week as if he were the starter," said Porter. "Even when Taylor is out there at practice, he stands behind the offense to try and read and anticipate what he would do if her were out there. So, he's prepared himself all along to play in this game."
The Golden Eagles will be looking to bounce back after last week's 34-31 loss in Birmingham to the Blazers. Like Porter, Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora has put last week behind.
"We're not looking backwards now," said Fedora on Monday. "There's nothing we can do about it now. We're going to move forward. After Friday night, we put it to bed. They were off on Saturday, and we came back and started to focus on Memphis."
The Golden Eagle offense is averaging over 36 points and 463 yards a game and is balanced in the air and on the ground. Quarterback Austin Davis averages over 252 yards passing while running backs Kendrick Hardy, Tracy Lampley, and Jamal Woodyard lead a balanced running attack. Cornerback Deron Wilson is the defensive catalyst, picking up 60 tackles while grabbing two interceptions and nine pass-breakups on the season.
The "Bright Side" for the Tigers is that this is a rivalry game in which anything can happen. It's also the last game for the seniors in a Memphis uniform, so a win would not only be a great way for them to go out, but also would give the Tigers a positive end to the year heading into the off-season.
"You have 16 seniors that are going to play their last game--whether it's away or at home," explained Porter. "It's the last time they get to suit up for the Tigers. When you look at it that way, it's more important. The one thing that this team has done all year long is play for each other. This game won't be any different."
Jeff Brightwell is considered the "voice of Tiger baseball and women's basketball," and serves as the broadcast team captain handling the majority of the production and engineering duties for Tiger football games. A 1996 graduate of the University of Memphis, Brightwell came to Memphis in 2003 after spending six years in Missouri. He has done play-by-play for Southeast Missouri State, Central Methodist College, Truman State, Moberly Community College and the Memphis RiverKings. For the last eight years, the native Memphian has broadcast both home and away contests for Memphis baseball and women's basketball on WUMR FM. He also hosts a weekly Tiger Update web show that is streamed through Memphis Tiger Vision on the athletic department website.