STARKVILLE, Miss — The Tigers took one on the chin to open the season against Mississippi State, losing 49-23. While the loss seems grim Memphis knows it quickly must be focused on the next game – not the last.
Not much went right for the Tigers in their season opener against Mississippi State, especially in a lopsided first half.
"We started so slow that was our problem. Just didn’t get the ball rolling coming out the gate, coming out the lightning delay," Henigan said.
The cowbells were ringing and lightning delayed the game for more than two hours in the first quarter, but the break didn’t help the Tigers. By halftime, the Bulldogs had 28 points. The Tigers just 29 total yards.
"Not good enough. The execution wasn’t there," said head coach Ryan Silverfield. "It was about as frustrating a first half as I’ve had in a long, long time coaching this game."
The second half offered bright spots. NIU transfer Jevyon Ducker’s first touch went 50 yards for a score and the offense cranked out too little, too late points in the fourth quarter. Now it’s time to look ahead to week two against Navy in Annapolis.
"First game is the first game. It really ain’t mean nothing. You can say it meant something but the next game is the next game and the next game is conference play so that’s what we’re really worried about," Quindell Johnson said.
Navy provides an especially tough test for the defense. The Midshipmen specialize in the run heavy triple option, a far cry from MSU’s pass happy air raid that collected 547 yards and 49 points against the Tigers. The embarrassing loss is all the motivation the Tigers need for preparation.
"It’s unusual for us to be able to open up conference play on the road week two. We know there’s challenges to playing at Annapolis but our guys will be hungry and ready and even more so because this certainly left a bad taste in our mouth," Silverfield said.
A quick bounce back will be the difference between starting 0-2 or a hopeful 1-1. The Tigers are now 2-8 under Silverfield in road games including five straight road losses going back to last season. Here’s hoping that changes next week at Navy.