Dec. 19, 2008
St. Petersburg, Fla. -
The Memphis Tigers will meet the USF Bulls in the inaugural magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field. The game will be aired live by ESPN2 with Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman and Rob Stone handling the broadcast for the national network.
The Memphis Alumni Association will host its True Blue Pep Rally on Saturday beginning at 2:30 p.m. The event will be in Lot 7 at Tropicana Field adjacent to the Tailgate Extravaganza and Fan Fest. The Tropicana Field box office will call opens at 9 a.m. Saturday. The box office at Gate 4 will open at 1:30 p.m., for player-family ticket distribution.
The game is also slated for a rebroadcast on CSS on Dec. 24 at 2:30 p.m. ET and on Dec. 25 at 9 p.m. ET.
Memphis and USF have a bit of history as the Tigers and the Bulls battled each other in four consecutive years from 2001-04. The series record is tied, 2-2, with Memphis winning the first and last meetings of the series. The Tigers opened the series in 2001 with a 17-9 win at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, and in 2004, Memphis defeated USF in Tampa, 31-15. USF claimed victories in the 2002 (31-28) game in Tampa and the 2003 (21-16) contest in Memphis. The Bulls were members of Conference USA from 2003-04 before joining the BIG EAST for the 2005 football season.
Tigers In Good Company
There's A First Time For Everything
The Tigers are competing in the postseason for the fifth time in the last six years, and can count themselves among the 36 teams nationally who will have played in at least five bowl games in the last six years. Also included in that group from Conference USA are Houston (5), Southern Miss (6) and Tulsa (5). The Tigers snapped a 32-year bowl drought, one of the nation's longest at the time, with an invitation to the New Orleans Bowl in 2003 after ending the regular season with an 8-4 record. Memphis traveled to the Big Easy and defeated North Texas, 27-17. Memphis has also appeared in the 2004 GMAC Bowl, the 2005 Motor City Bowl and the 2007 New Orleans Bowl in the last six years.
For the first time in the program's history, Memphis will play a postseason game in the state of Florida. In their previous bowl trips, the Tigers' destinations (by state) were Tennessee, California, Louisiana, Michigan and Alabama.
Memphis Versus the BIG EAST
The Tigers have an all-time record of 39-36 against members of the BIG EAST Conference, but Memphis played all three foes -- Cincinnati, Louisville and USF -- when they were members of the Metro Conference and Conference USA. The Dec. 20 St. Petersburg Bowl game versus USF is Memphis' second against a BIG EAST Conference foe after that league's realignment in 2005. It is also the Tigers' second BIG EAST opponent this season, as they played Louisville earlier this year. Memphis dropped a 35-28 decision to the Cardinals on Oct. 10 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The Tigers lead the Cincinnati series 18-12, while Louisville holds a narrow 22-19 series advantage. Memphis and USF spilt their four meetings (2-2).
The Memphis roster has 10 players that call the Sunshine State home. Lavaris Edwards (Miami), Maurice Holloway (Sanford), Kindly Jacques (Fort Lauderdale), Steven Joachim (Miami), Curtis Johnson (Miami), Charlie Jones (Miami), Clay Lee (Orlando), Joel McLeod (Miramar), Bryan Wright (Miami) and Vinny Zaccario (Tampa) are from the state of Florida. McCleod prepped at Everglades High School in Miramir as did USF wide receiver Jeffrey Wilson. Wright played his prep football at Northwestern High in Miami, the same school that sent USF freshman linebacker Quavon Taylor.
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