University of Memphis students, longtime Tiger fans equally excited ahead of football clash this weekend against Ole Miss Rebels

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( – The buzz is building in the Bluff CIty, as we inch closer to a Mid-South football showdown you can watch only on Local 24 News: Ole Miss at Memphis.

Fans of both teams are fired up for Saturday, in what could be the last match-up between the two football teams for a long while.

In Memphis, whether it was on the University of Memphis campus or outside the Liberty Bowl, students and alumni alike hope Saturday’s clash with Ole Miss will be the first step towards a successful season for the ages.

That includes Tigers fan Russell Coltharp. For him, Memphis football tailgating is a way of life – both an art form and a spectacle – down to the blue chandelier.

“The support to Tiger Nation is extremely important, we are all about it,” Coltharp said.

Near Tiger Lane Thursday morning, Coltharp was already the first tailgater to set up shop, ahead of Saturday morning’s Memphis showdown against Ole Miss. It’s the first time since 2015 the two teams played against each other at the Liberty Bowl.

“We are radically amped,” Coltharp said.

Starting Friday night, Coltharp and his team will feed up to 500 Shelby County deputies and their friends. The huge grill even has its own superstitious streak.

“It’s very exciting, Tiger Nation, we are all about it,” Coltharp said. “We haven’t cooked and lost a game.”

“I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I’ve been a kid,” Memphis football player Jacob Likes said.

Saturday’s game carries extra weight for Likes, a true freshman. He grew up in Memphis and will begin his college career against the Tigers regional rival: the Ole Miss Rebels.

“Everyone comes up to me and they see my shirt and they are like, ‘oh you ready for Saturday?’” Like said. “Going to class and it’s like, ‘oh, you better win on Saturday,’ it’s a very good atmosphere right now.”

It’s unclear when Memphis and Ole Miss will play again in football. Ole Miss has some conference opponents scheduled through the year 2026, but right now, Memphis is not on the list.

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