Red Wolves look forward to battle against cross-river rivals
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 23:09
“On third down quick drop… Leonard rolling left trying to buy some time…Leonard will throw it deep down field… he’s got several men down there and it is… no signal touchdown! Touchdown Arkansas State! They have won it… no flags on the play!”
The Bluff City Miracle, the Miracle in Memphis, or whatever you want to call it.
Fans all remember that fateful day on Oct. 14, 2006.
The time is different but the place remains the same and so does the opponent.
With the future of this rivalry in doubt, this game means a lot to all the players and coaches involved especially the ones who hail from Memphis.
“I’m from Memphis,” senior running back Sirgregory Thornton said.
“ I grew up as a little kid going to the LibertyBowl Memorial stadium. This is going to be my first time playing there so I’m pretty excited about that.”
However, just because it is in his hometown doesn’t mean that he’s going to let feelings get in the way.
“Personally, you know, its just another team on the schedule,” Thornton said.
“We take it game by game. No game is bigger than the next game, but just being able to go home and play in front of my family and lot of friends that normally don’t get to see me play, that’s pretty exciting.”
While it will be a homecoming for Memphis, the mindset of the team will still be to slow down the fast paced offense that Tigers Head Coach Justin Fuente has installed.
Led by redshirt freshman Paxton Lynch, the Tigers offense could strike at any time.
Defensive Coordinator John Thompson had a lot of praise for the young Memphis quarterback.
“He’s going to be a really good quarterback,” Thompson said.
“You see him getting better and better every week. He’s got a strong arm deceptively fast. They’re giving him more and more offense.”
Lynch is not the only player that the defense has to worry about.
Senior running back Brandon Hayes and wide receiver Tevin Jones are two more playmakers that they need to keep an eye on.
Junior defensive back Sterling Young knows that their offense is a little different than the norm.
“It’s a combination of everything, a lot more read option,” Young said. “They’re going to take their share of shots and the run game is pretty good as well.”
On the ASU side of things the key is to be themselves.
They need to keep doing what they are doing. Running the ball with three stable running backs in David Oku, Michael Gordon, and Sirgregory Thornton, which sets up quarterback Adam Kennedy with easy passing lanes to throw to his plethora of wide receivers.
Winning the special teams will be a major factor in the victory as well as Memphis has one of the best punters in the nation with Tom Hornsey.
In the end it comes down to one thing. Be yourself.
“We’ve got to continue to do the same thing we’ve been doing,” junior defensive back Artez Brown said.
“Were used to the fast pace offense. They give us this everyday at practice so I mean we’ve just got to do the same thing. Be alert and get checks called and line up and be ready to move.”
The Red Wolves take on the Memphis Tigers at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
The game will be televised on ESPN3.