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‘Hurt’ Tigers look to heal against MTSU

by J.R. Moorhead
Special to The New Tri-State Defender

After a humiliating loss to UT-Martin in week one, it seemed as if there was nowhere to go but up for the University of Memphis. And although the Tigers lost week to Arkansas State, Memphis looked much better in all aspects of the game.

The Tigers have managed to take the lead into halftime in both of their games so far, but their offense seems to fizzle out in the second half. The next chance to get that rectified comes Saturday (Sept. 15) at 6 p.m. when Middle Tennessee State University visits Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

The Blue Raiders (1-1) and Memphis have had some back and forth battles over the last few years and it should be a fun game to watch. That being said, Memphis has a long season ahead of them, and if they want to record any victories this year, they need to focus on the game this upcoming weekend and come out ready to play.

At his press conference on Monday, head coach Justin Fuente said there were a few things the Tigers didn't do as a team to get over the hump against ASU.

"We made plays and executed our assignments. We just didn't do it enough," he said. "You get in those situations and there's five minutes left in the game and you're up or you're barely behind, you've got to stay in the moment and stay focused on the next play."

The Tigers take the field on Saturday knowing that MTSU bounced back last week after a tough opening-season loss.

"They've basically been a tale of two offenses. The first week they threw the ball and this last week I believe, if I'm not mistaken, they had two rushers over 100 yards. They've got some explosive playmakers," said Fuente.

"Defensively, they have played pretty well. They have some well-respected coaches in this business over there. They'll be a very well-coached, disciplined, tough football team."

The ASU loss may have yielded a "hurt" that the Tigers can build upon against MTSU, said Fuente.

"I feel like the (ASU) game hurt some of them, which is a good thing. When you become more invested in something and it doesn't go right, it hurts more," Fuente said.

"Sometimes, people won't get fully invested in something because they don't want to put themselves out there if it doesn't work out. I feel like our guys right now are that hurt."

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