Some people in Memphis were calling it the superbowl of Memphis. Hugh Freeze coach of the Ole Miss rebels, had his team confident in this potential win against for the U of M tigers. Coach Justin Fuente told his guys it was just another game. Well it was anything but that and the tigers must have felt comfortable in their coach’s approach.
The rest is history. After the University of Memphis football team completed one of the most monumental victories in its history, 37-24 over No. 13 Ole Miss, there was a celebration on the field unlike anything at Liberty Bowl Stadium in nearly two decades. Quarterback for U of M, Paxton Lynch jumped up and down with strangers. Alan Cross took a turn directing the school band. A group of police officers assembled at the base of the goal post, to prevent it from being torn down. Security just stood in the middle of the field and looked like what’s the use, let them celebrate.
The fans spilled over the stadium walls Saturday afternoon after Memphis’ win. The mob in the middle of the field at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium grew, and grew, and grew some more. T-I-G-E-R-S was being bellowed throughout the stadium and after the game the yelling just kept on and getting louder. The U of M band played louder as the game prolonged until the last 5 minutes the sea of red was dwindling. The win became a party at the 30-yard line.
They gathered to celebrate the Tigers’ first win over a ranked opponent since 1996, when they beat a sixth-ranked Tennessee team quarterbacked by Peyton Manning. Saturday’s win was their first over Ole Miss since 2004. It was their 13th consecutive win. It made the Tigers (6-0) bowl-eligible. It was electric. It was impressive. It was everything that Las Vegas oddsmakers believed the Tigers could not do — and then some.
Ole Miss took a 14-0 early lead that had Memphis’ fans feeling doomed. Memphis tore off 31 straight points, and it was never really a game again. Tigers QB Paxton Lynch was 39-of-53 passing for 384 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Memphis picked Rebels QB Chad Kelly twice.
In the aftermath, Memphis has never been so excited about its future prospects for it’s football team. The talk is “Keep Fuente around”, Memphis needs this as a school and a community. Let’s don’t throw water on the fiery exuberance of this win and this record. We all know that Coach Fuente has emerged as one of the top candidates for being recruited to other schools. Let’s enjoy the moment! Hat’s off to all the U of M tigers and coaches and Paxton Lynch has also emerged as one of the top quarterbacks. Everyone wants Memphis to be a part of the SEC but for now our American Athletic Conference is our status. Dream big! Memphis takes on the University of Tulsa Hurricanes this week. Go Tigers Go! We are now ranked #18 by AP and #17 by both the Coaches Poll and CBS!!
Eyewear Gallery of Memphis Tennessee is a scholarship donor to the University of Memphis athletic program and have been for the past 10 years. Come to the Eyewear Gallery and let’s continue the celebration! http://www.EyewearGallery.com Drs. Warren Johnson | Do Nguyen