Coming off a program-defining win over Ole Miss last weekend, Justin Fuente was concerned about his Memphis Tigers looking past Tulsa and ahead to what could be. For the most part, Fuente had little to worry about on that front — again, for the most part.
Up 35-21 at the half, the No. 18 Tigers watched as, on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Dane Evans to Joshua Atkinson, that 14-point lead was sliced in half to seven at 42-35 just over five minutes into the third quarter. That was as close as the home-standing Golden Hurricane would get, however, as the Tigers went on a 24-7 run over the remaining 25 minutes to close out an impressive 66-42 win.
The 108 combined points are the most scored in an FBS game this season.
With the win, the Tigers pushed their record to 7-0 on the season. It’s also the U of M’s 14th straight win, behind only Ohio State’s 20 straight and TCU’s 15 in a row. It’s also yet another sign that Paxton Lynch should move his way toward the forefront of the Heisman discussion sooner rather than later.
A redshirt junior who is also fast playing himself into the upper-half of the first round of the 2016 NFL draft if he so desires, Lynch finished Friday night’s game with a school-record 447 yards and four touchdowns on 32-of-44 passing. It’s the sixth straight 300-yard game for Lynch this season, and his second 400-yarder.
Lynch was the triggerman of an offense that posted 704 total yards, which also included 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 14 carries by Jamarius Henderson. Arguably more impressive, Keyarris Garrett caught 13 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns in the losing effort.
Entering Week 8, there were four Group of Five teams that were undefeated. No. 22 Temple held serve Thursday night, with Memphis doing the same a day later. The other two figure to do the same as No. 19 Toledo faces 1-5 UMass and No. 21 Houston goes up against winless UCF.
Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.
Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.
Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.
Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.
A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.
Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.
Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.
It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.
Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.
Helmet sticker to Al.com.
The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.
Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.
These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.