An underdog going up against the Cougars in Houston last weekend, the University of Memphis football Tigers had been steadily improving and the thought of a victory wasn't beyond the realm of reality.
The Tigers clearly believed that, holding a 15-10 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the "Big Blue Nation,"the Cougars rallied handing the Tigers (1-4) a 25-15 setback, their fourth loss this season.
For Memphis, it was the second time in as many games in conference competition that the Tigers had the lead late in the game and couldn't come away with a win. After a chaotic finish, Memphis stumbled the week before against UCF after edging ahead early in the fourth quarter.
"It was a hard-fought battle."
"It didn't turn out the way we wanted to."
"That was a tough football game against a really good program."
"We came up a little bit short but I was awfully proud of the way our kids continued to fight and battle and play for each other."
After making it to the Western Conference Finals – a punctuation mark on the franchise's best season ever – the Memphis Grizzlies are back in training camp with their starting five.
They have a new head coach, Dave Joerger, who served as defensive coordinator under former head coach Lionel Hollins.
They've brought back sharpshooter Mike Miller, who earned championship experience with the Miami Heat after an earlier stint with the Grizz.
They've acquired a new down-low force in Kosto Koufos, beefing up the frontcourt and providing much-needed back up to All-Star center Marc Gasol.
After starting the season with two road games, the Tennessee Titans on Sunday were on home ground as they faced off against the San Diego Chargers, who were flying high after a big victory over Philadelphia.
The Titans franchise had not beaten the Chargers since 1992 when the Titans were then doing business as the Houston Oilers. That drought ended with a stellar performance from Titans quarterback Jake Locker. Locker threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie Justin Hunter with 15 seconds left and the Titans rallied to beat San Diego 20-17 at LP Field in Nashville.
The catch was Hunter's first NFL reception and the timing couldn't have been better.
I cringed as the scores came in over the weekend: Ohio State 76, Florida A&M 0; Florida State 54, Bethune-Cookman 6; Miami 77, Savannah State 7. Our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have traded their proud, rich football heritage for money. And I don't think it's worth it.
There's only one reason our HBCUs schedule games against schools whose head coaches make more than their entire athletic budgets: they earn a big payday, even if that means being publicly humiliated along the way.
The irony is that the SEC wouldn't continue to have a lock on national football championships were it not for their black players. And it wasn't all that long ago that blacks were as unwelcomed in the SEC as they were at KKK rallies. But when Sam Cunningham ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries in 1970 as the University of Southern California routed Alabama 42-21 in Birmingham, the conference got the message that they couldn't win without black talent.
The fifth annual Mike Conley Bowl 'n Bash benefitting the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center is scheduled for Saturday (Sept. 28) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Billy Hardwick's All Star Lanes at 1576 S. White Station Rd.
"We hope the community will join the fight against sickle cell by participating in this fundraising event," said Conley, the Grizzlies starting point guard. "This is a fun way to bring awareness to a very serious disease."
In Mitchell High School's loss on Saturday to Southaven High School, the Tigers – and their head coach – at times looked worse than the score indicated.
The Tigers, who wound up on the short end of a 31-13 thumping, were once penalized in the second quarter for calling their "fourth" timeout when three is the limit per half. It was a bad display of football all around, with an enormous amount of unsportsmanlike, delay of game and holding penalties.
At one point in the second quarter, after yet ANOTHER infraction, Mitchell coach Nathan Cole yelled at the refs, "We didn't come here for this!"