2008 Memphis Tigers Season

Posted Jan 17, 2009

2008 Memphis Tigers Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Memphis Tigers

Dec. 29
2008 St. Petersburg Bowl
South Florida 41 ... Memphis 14

USF had no problems winning what amounted to a home game as Matt Grothe threw three touchdown passes, starting out with a 26-yard scoring pass to Taurus Johnson, and Ben Williams ran for a thee-yard score on the way to a 24-7 lead. Memphis stayed in it in the first half with a three-yard touchdown pass from Arkelon Hall and a two-yard touchdown pass to Duke Calhoun with eight seconds left in the half, but that would be it. USF scored 17 unanswered points in the second half while the defense finished up holding Memphis to just 238 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: South Florida QB Matt Grothe completed 17-of-24 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns, and he led the team with 83 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Stat Leaders: South Florida - Passing: Matt Grothe, 17-24, 236 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Matt Grothe, 15-83. Receiving: Carlton Mitchell, 4-60
Memphis - Passing: Arkelon Hall, 15-31, 154 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 12-48. Receiving: Duke Calhoun, 6-39, 1 TD
Inside The Boxscore ... 5 Thoughts on the St. Petersburg Bowl ... Rushing yards: USF 232 - Memphis 66 ... USF QB Matt Grothe became the Big East's all-time leader in total offense. He's only a junior. ... USF's Tyrone McKenzie led all defenders with 11 tackles with a tackle for loss. ... Average yards per kickoff return: USF 35.5 - Memphis 17.1. ... Time of possession: USF 34:24 - Memphis 25:16.

- 2008 Memphis Preview
- 2007 Memphis Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 5-7
2008 Record:

Aug. 30 at Ole Miss L 41-24
Sept. 6 Rice L 42-35
Sept. 13 at Marshall L 17-16
Sept. 20 Nicholls State W 31-10
Sept. 27 Arkansas St W 29-17
Oct. 2 at UAB W 33-30
Oct. 10 Louisville L 35-28
Oct. 18 at East Carolina L 30-10
Oct. 25 Southern Miss W 36-30
Nov. 8 at SMU W 31-26
Nov. 22 UCF L 28-21
Nov. 29 Tulane W 45-6
St. Petersburg Bowl
Dec. 20 South Florida L 41-14

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 6-6
2007 Record:

Sept. 1 Ole Miss L 23-21
Sept. 15
Jville State W 35-14
Sept. 22 at UCF L 56-20
Sept. 27 at Arkansas St L 35-31
Oct. 2 Marshall W 24-21
Oct. 13
Middle Tenn L 21-7
Oct. 20 at Rice W 38-35
Oct. 27 at Tulane W 28-27
Nov. 3 East Carolina L 56-40
Nov. 10 at So Miss W 29-26
Nov. 17
UAB W 25-9
Nov. 24 SMU W 59-52 3OT
New Orleans Bowl
Dec. 21 Memphis L 44-27

Nov. 29
Memphis 45 … Tulane 6
Memphis used a variety of formations and players to keep things moving, with WR Steven Black running for three touchdowns from direct snaps, and Curtis Steele tearing off a nine-yard run while motoring for 125 yards. Tulane was never in it, getting down 31-0 before Casey Robottom got into the end zone on an eight-yard run late in the third. The Green Wave managed just 222 yards and 10 first downs.
Player of the game: Memphis RB Curtis Steele ran 23 times for 125 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Tulane - Passing: Kevin Moore, 11-19, 153 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: J.T. McDonald, 7-23. Receiving: Brian King, 5-92
Memphis - Passing: Arkelon Hall, 10-12, 109 yds
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 23-135, 1 TD. Receiving: Maurice Jones, 4-49
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Memphis made itself bowl eligible by winning three of its last four games and closing out with its best performance of the year. Using a variety of ways to get the running game moving, the Tigers busted off 379 yards against Tulane helped by Steven Black and the "wild" formation. All the production from the ground attack helped Arkelon Hall, who hit on 10-of-13 passes. Now it's wait-and-see time for a 13th game.

Nov. 22
UCF 28 … Memphis 21
Rob Calabrese threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Kay and connected with Kyhmest Williams for a 19-yard score as UCF did just enough on offense to get by. The Knights only gained 194 yards of total offense, but they capitalized on two Memphis turnovers with Derrick Hallman returning a fumble 26 yards for a touchdown and Latavius Murray scoring from one-yard out. Memphis got a 54-yard Duke Calhoun touchdown catch and short touchdown runs from Cutis Steele and Steven Black, but couldn't get into scoring range late.
Player of the game: UCF DB Sha'reff Rashad made 11 tackles
Stat Leaders: Memphis - Passing: Arkelon Hall, 15-35, 183 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Arkelon Hall 11-42. Receiving: Steven Black, 3-29
UCF - Passing: Joe Weatherford, 2-7, 67 yds
Rushing: Brynn Harvey, 11-71. Receiving: Kamar Allen, 3-56
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UCF might not be doing anything pretty, and the offense might be struggling to do anything through the air, but the team is finally getting wins. On a two-game roll after the strange, effective victory over Memphis, the disappointing season can end on a high-note with a home win over UAB next week. It's too late to change things up now, but it would be a plus if the nation's worst offense could find something to go into the off-season to count on.
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Memphis offense was able to move the ball a bit on the UCF defense, but it struggled to come up with the plays to keep the attack moving. Too many drives sputtered until it was too late with QB Arkelon Hall struggling to find anything that consistently worked, while the defense didn't come up with the big stands needed to avoid the early deficit. A bowl game is hardly a guarantee at this point, but a home win over Tulane is a must to get bowl eligible. The Tigers had to be hoping that game would be to solidify a 13th game.

Nov. 8
Memphis 31 … SMU 26
Curtis Steele and Brandon Ross each ran for over 100 yards as Memphis rolled up 306 yards on the ground, but it was a battle until the end. Logan Turner filled in for an injured Bo Levi Mitchell and threw two touchdown passes to Cole Beasley including an eight-yarder with 38 seconds to play. Memphis held on to the ball for 36:56 but couldn't control the game with Turner getting hotter and hotter as the game went on. Mitchell and Emmanuel Sanders hooked up for a 53-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Player of the game: Memphis RBs Curtis Steele and Brandon Ross ran 41 times for 234 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Logan Turner, 19-31, 228 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Andrew McKinney, 7-25. Receiving: Cole Beasley, 6-66, 2 TD
Memphis - Passing: Brett Toney, 9-19, 130 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 19-123, 1 TD. Receiving: Carlos Singleton, 3-71, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Memphis has been able to plug in players when needed to keep the offense going. Against SMU, Brett Toney was along for the ride at quarterback as Curtis Steele and Brandon Ross dominated on the ground. Now the Tigers are within range for a bowl game, but Steele's hamstring has to be healthy and more production will be needed from the passing game. With a week off for everyone to heal up before winnable games against UCF and Tulane, the chance is there for a nice finishing kick of four straight wins.

Oct. 25
Memphis 36 … Southern Miss 30
With starting QB Arkelon Hall out, Memphis got quirky with a variety of trick plays and the running of Curtis Steele to get the win. Carlos Singleton caught two first half touchdown passes with the first one coming from Brett Toney, who got injured. Fourth-string QB Tyler Bass took over and ran for an 11-yard score, but it was Steele who controlled the game with 178 yards and touchdown runs of 10 and 22 yards in the fourth quarter. Southern Miss took the lead early in the fourth quarter on a 31-yard Damion Fletcher run before Steele score his first touchdown to take the lead for good, USM scored on the final play of the game to make the score look better.
Player of the game: Memphis RB Curtis Steele ran 29 times for 178 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss - Passing: Tyler Bass, 10-13, 130 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 29-178, 2 TD. Receiving: Carlos Singleton, 7-64, 2 TD
Memphis - Passing: Austin Davis, 21-40, 186 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Austin Davis, 8-121. Receiving: DeAndre Brown, 8-110, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Talk about pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the Memphis coaching staff did everything it could possibly do to get the offense moving with a third and fourth string quarterback. The defense didn't hold up well against the Southern Miss offense, but the offensive line had a great game opening up holes for Curtis Steele as the Tigers finished with 285 yards on the ground. Now with a week off to heal up and get more creative before a winnable game against SMU, a bowl game is still possible with UCF and Tulane to close out.  

Oct. 18
East Carolina 30 … Memphis 10
Both starting quarterbacks were out early with Rob Kass replacing an ineffective Patrick Pinkney to hit Brandon Simmons for a 42-yard touchdown and Dwayne Harris for a 28-yard score. Memphis, who lost QB Arkelon Hall to a broken thumb early on, took a 10-7 lead into halftime on a 20-yard Vinny Zaccario field goal, but ECU went on a 23-0 run in the second half. ECU outgained Memphis 381 yards to 184.
Player of the game: East Carolina QB Rob Kass came off the bench and completed 9-of-17 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Memphis - Passing: Brett Toney, 11-15, 65 yds
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 14-43, 1 TD. Receiving: Earnest Williams, 4-31
East Carolina - Passing: Rob Kass, 9-17, 167 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Jon Williams, 15-108, 1 TD. Receiving: Dwayne Harris, 6-86, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Memphis offense quickly went into the tank against East Carolina after losing starting quarterback Arkelon Hall, and the defense couldn't pick up the slack in the second half. Brett Toney wasn't asked to throw the ball deep, and he didn't, and while he completed 11-of-15 passes, he didn't get the offense moving.  LB Greg Jackson had a nice day making 11 stops and 2.5 tackles for loss, but the line struggled to get into the backfield.

Oct. 10
Louisville 35 ... Memphis 28
Trent Guy returned a kickoff for a touchdown and caught a 43-yard touchdown pass, and Johnny Patrick returned a fumble 21 yards for the game-winning score and he blocked a field goal as Louisville finished with three returns for touchdowns. The Cardinals scored 28 points in the second quarter with Brandon Heath returned a blocked field goal 60 yards for a touchdown and Pete Nochta caught a 23-yard touchdown pass in the run. Memphis outgained the Cardinals 481 yards to 299 with Arkelon Hall running for a one-yard score, catching a one-yard touchdown pass, and throwing two third quarter touchdown passes.
Player of the game:
Louisville WR Trent Guy ran once for 26 yards, caught a pass for 43 yards and a touchdown, and returned two kicks fro 105 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Louisville - Passing: Hunter Cantwell, 13-25, 133 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Victor Anderson, 15-81. Receiving: Scott Long 3-18
- Passing: Arkelon Hall, 33-55, 350 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Curtis Steele, 16-80. Receiving: Carlton Robinzine, 6-30
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Memphis stunk it up on special teams against Louisville and couldn't quick giving up weird, big plays, but it might have turned out to be a step forward for the team this year. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton pulled out all the stops with various trick plays and various formations to cross the Cards up, and it almost all worked .However, the mistakes didn't stop in the fourth quarter. If the offense can keep producing 481 yards per game, it'll crank out a few key wins to get to a bowl.

Oct. 1
Memphis 33 ... UAB 30
Vinny Zaccario nailed a 25-yard field goal with two seconds to play to give Memphis the tough win in a see-saw battle. Arkelon Hall threw four touchdown passes for the Tigers including strikes to Earnest Williams from 30 and 20 yards out in the first half, but UAB's Joe Webb was better. Webb ran for three scores and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Mike Jones with 235 passing yards and 93 on the ground. But Hall came through in the end leading the way on a nine-play, 72-yard march to lead to the game-winning field goal.
Player of the game:
Memphis QB Arkelon Hall completed 18-of-28 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns with an interception, and ran ten times for 17 yards.
Stat Leaders: UAB - Passing: Joe Webb, 14-25, 235 yds, 1 TD
Joe Webb, 18-93, 3 TD. Receiving: Jeffrey Anderson, 2-50
- Passing: Arkelon Hall, 18-28, 209 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Curtis Steele, 14-101. Receiving: Carlos Singleton, 5-123, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Memphis came through when it had to against UAB, but it had a nightmare of a time with QB Joe Webb. The defense might have struggled, but the offense came up with a nice day with 192 rushing yards and four touchdown passes from Arkelon Hall. Hall threw a pick, but he was otherwise rock-solid and clutch, keeping pace with Webb to answer every Blazer score. Now, on a three-game winning streak, the Tigers have to show they can beat a good team. With Louisville up next, they'll get the chance.

Sept. 27
Memphis 29 … Arkansas State 17
Memphis broke open a tight game in the second half scoring 13 unanswered points on two of Vinny Zaccario's three field goals and a two-yard Curtis Steele touchdown run. Arkansas State took a 17-16 lead into halftime thanks to a 23-yard Corey Leonard run and a nine-yard Reggie Arnold dash, but the offense got stuffed in the second half. Clinton McDonald came up with four sacks for the Tigers.
Player of the game: Memphis RB Curtis Steele rushed for 203 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
Stat Leaders: Arkansas State - Passing: Corey Leonard, 11-23, 173 yds, 1 INT
Derek Lawson, 11-79. Receiving: Brandon Thompkins, 2-36
- Passing: Arkelon Hall, 10-25, 178 yds, 1 INT
Curtis Steele, 22-203, 1 TD. Receiving: Carlos Singleton, 3-68
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The Memphis defense came up with one of its best performances of the season, holding Arkansas State to just 3-of-13 third down chances and keeping the Red Wolves to 179 rushing yards. The offense ran wild, Curtis Steele was tremendous, but the passing game has to be better. Arkelon Hall struggled way too much and was lousy on third downs. However, stopping the Arkansas State offense is a good sign with UAB and running QB Joe Webb up next.

Sept. 20
Memphis 31 … Nicholls State 10
Memphis allowed just 47 passing yards on 2-of-5 attempts, but the score was tied at 10 at halftime thanks to a blocked field goal for a score from NSU's LaDarius Webb. Memphis scored 21 unanswered points in the second half as Arkelon Hall ran for a two-yard score and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Duke Calhoun to go along with Charlie Jones' second TD run of the day.
Player of the game: Memphis QB Arkelon Hall completed 16-of-30 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown and ran nine times for 29 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: Memphis
- Passing: Arkelon Hall, 16-30, 173 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 20-109. Receiving: Duke Calhoun, 5-50, 1 TD
Nicholls State
- Passing: Vincent Montgomery, 1-4, 31 yds
Rushing: Watson, 4-37. Receiving: Robinson, 1-31
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
After starting the season 0-3, Memphis needed an easy win. The game against Nicholls State wasn't it, the offense took too long to get rolling, but eventually the defense paved the way for the blowout in the second half. Nicholls State turned it over three times and only had the ball 21:52, but the offense needs to be more explosive and more consistent to get past Arkansas State next week.

Sept. 13
Marshall 17 … Memphis 16
Darius Marshall ran for a  40-yard touchdown in the first minute of the game and Darius Passmore caught an 18-yard touchdown pass with three seconds to play in the third on the way to a 17-13 Marshall lead. Memphis got a four-yard Earnest Williams touchdown catch in the third quarter and three Matt Reagan field goals, including a 25-yarder midway through the fourth, but Marshall was able to hang on.
Player of the game:
Marshall RB Darius Marshall ran 27 times for 140 yards and a touchdown, and caught a pass for 10 yards
Stat Leaders: Memphis
- Passing: Arkelon Hall, 28-51, 364 yds
Rushing: Charlie Jones, 7-47. Receiving: Carlos Singleton, 11-158
Marshall - Passing: Mark Cann, 14-28, 224 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Darius Marshall, 27-140, 1 TD. Receiving: Darius Passmore, 6-128, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Memphis has to try to avoid going into the tank. After the crushing loss to Rice, the Tigers had their chances against Marshall but ended up losing by one. Arkelon Hall is throwing well and getting the offense moving, but he's not getting the team into the end zone enough. The running game isn't consistent, so it's going to be on Hall to keep producing.

Sept. 6
Rice 42 … Memphis 35
Memphis appeared to be driving for the game-winning score when Rice's Chris Jammer picked off an Arkelon Hall pass and took it 69 yards for a touchdown with 11 seconds to play to cap off a wild finish. Rice had tied the game just a minute earlier on a two-point conversion pass to James Casey following a nine-yard Chase Clement touchdown run. Memphis rolled up 523 yards to Rice's 430 and was up 35-20 late in the game, but Rice scored 22 points in the final 6:28. The loss glossed over a big game from Hall, who threw for 373 yards and three scores. Charlie Jones ran for two touchdowns for the Tigers, and Maurice Jones caught two touchdown passes.
Player of the game:
 Rice QB Chase Clement completed 26-of-44 passes for 318 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, and he ran 15 times for 80 yards and two scores.
Stat Leaders: Memphis - Passing: Arkelon Hall, 29-38, 373 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 12-44 Receiving: Maurice Jones, 9-173, 2 TD
Rice - Passing: Chase Clement, 26-44, 318 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Chase Clement, 15-80, 2 TD. Receiving: James Casey, 11-208
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Pure, utter devastation. Memphis pulled away to apparently get the win over Rice only to suffer a complete and total meltdown. Everything that could go wrong in the final seven minutes, did. Give Rice credit for doing what it needed to and making all the big plays, but Memphis outplayed the Owls and now are a tough 0-2 with several tough games ahead. 

Aug. 30
Ole Miss 41 ... Memphis 24
The Ole Miss offense took got rolling early with Shay Hodge catching a 64-yard touchdown pass and Dexter McCluster running for a 32-yard score on the way to a 27-7 lead late in the first half. The Rebels put it away early in the third quarter on a 15-yard Hodge scoring grab. Memephis got two Will Hudgens touchdown passes and a one yard Hudgens run, but the Tigers next threatened after the first quarter.
Player of the game: Ole Miss WR/RB Dexter McCluster ran six times for 64 yards and a touchdown, and caught four passes for 61 yards
Stat Leaders: Memphis - Passing: Arkelon Hall, 15-27, 159 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 15-83. Receiving: Carlos Singleton, 6-89
Ole Miss - Passing: Jevan Snead, 10-22, 185 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Brandon Bolden, 8-76, 1 TD. Receiving: Dexter McCluster, 4-61, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The defense had its moments against Ole Miss, but it couldn't come up with the big play to turn things around. The offense didn't do nearly enough in any phase to mount a serious challenge, but there were some bright spots. Arkelon Hall is a viable option at quarterback, and Curtis Steele ran well. Now the attack has to be more explosive with Conference USA play starting up, and the run defense will need to be far tighter. Fortunately, Rice and Marshall, the next two opponents, don't have the speed of Ole Miss.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Arkelon Hall QB 6-3 220 Jr. Fresno, Calif./Edison/College of the Sequoias
Signed with the Tigers in December and is enrolled at the U of M...Will work out with the squad this spring...Played one season for coach Curtis Allen at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., after transferring from Washington State...Former teammate of Kindly Jacques and Larry Landry who both signed with Memphis today...Passed for 2,398 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2007...Averaged 239.8 yards per game and completed 53.1 percent of his passing attempts while also running for five touchdowns and 144 yards in 2007... Threw for more than 300 yards in his final two games at COS, including a 350-yard effort in a 59-57 loss to Sierra in the final game of the season...Rated as the nation's No. 8 quarterback prospect by ESPN.com after throwing for 56 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards in two years as a starter for Edison High ...Signed with Washington State out of high school and redshirted in 2005 at WSU. ...Broke his leg in a preseason scrimmage in 2006 and later transferred to the College of the Sequoias..., Was invited to participate in the 2004 EA SPORTS Elite 11 Quarterback Camp and Competition...Rated as a four-star athlete by Scout.com... and was also ranked No. 81 in the ESPN Top 100 Players in America.

Potential Instant Impact Players

Kindly Jacques OT 6-7 325 Jr. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Stranahan/College of the Sequoias
Played two seasons for coach Curtis Allen at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif....Teammate of Arkelon Hall who signed with the Tigers in December and Larry Landry who inked with Memphis today...Was part of an offensive line that helped the Giants amass 3,819 yards of total offense in 2007...Helped protect Hall, who totaled 2,398 yards and 13 passing touchdowns...Helped 2006 team to a 7-3 record as the Giants averaged 412 yards of total offense...Squad also averaged 32.9 points per game in 2006.

Colton Jenkins
DL 6-6 290 So. Winona, Miss./Winona Secondary/Holmes CC
Signed with the Tigers in December and is enrolled at the U of M...Will work out with the squad this spring...Played one season at Holmes Community College...Started five games in 2007 before being sidelined with a shoulder injury...Was listed as a Top 25 Junior College Prospect by the Sun Herald...Lettered three seasons at Winona Secondary School, playing on both sides of the ball as a senior...Ranked among the top 60 offensive linemen in the Southeast by PrepStar recruiting magazine in its season-ending yearbook

Rest of the Class
Demetrius Culpepper DE 6-5 245 Jr. Alexander City, Ala./Benjamin Russell/East Miss. CC
DajLeon Farr TE 6-5 252 Sr. Houston, Texas/North Shore/Univ. of Miami
Marcus Hightower WR 6-2 180 Fr. Memphis, Tenn./Whitehaven
Ricky Holloway LB 6-2 225 Fr. Somerville, Tenn./Fayette-Ware
Steven Joachim WR 6-4 205 Jr. Miami, Fla./N. Miami Sr./Mendocino College
Curtis Johnson WR 6-0 182 Fr. Miami, Fla./Coral Gables
Larry Landry OL 6-3 285 Jr. New Orleans, La./John Ehret/College of the Sequoias
Donald Law TE 6-5 260 Fr. Memphis, Tenn./Hamilton
Clay Lee DB 6-1 215 Fr. Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips
Derrick Odom LB 6-2 202 Jr. Jackson, Miss.Callaway/LSU
Dontari Poe DT 6-3 315 Fr. Memphis, Tenn./Wooddale
Greg Ray RB 5-10 205 Jr. Los Angeles, Calif./Westchester/El Camino CC
Brandon Ross RB 6-0 205 Fr. Auburn, Ala./Auburn
Marcus Rucker WR 6-3 180 Fr. Memphis, Tenn./Whitehaven
Mike Shepard DB 6-2 205 Fr. Citronelle, Ala./Citronelle
Frank Trotter DT 6-2 260 Fr. Mobile, Ala./John LeFlore

2007 Recap

After plummeting to 2-10 a year ago, the Tigers did rather well to finish with seven wins, tie for second place in the Eastern Division, and qualify for a fourth bowl game in the last five years.  Memphis stayed above water behind the nation's 13th-ranked passing attack and a knack for pulling out close games, winning five by a field goal or less.  The defense, however, was a glaring and incessant liability, collecting just 15 sacks in 13 games, and finishing near the bottom of Conference USA in just about every statistical category.       

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Martin Hankins

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Jake Kasser

Biggest Surprise: In a crucial game for both programs, Memphis stunned Southern Miss in Hattiesburg on Nov. 10, 29-26, climbing one step closer to a berth in the New Orleans Bowl.  The Tigers trailed by 12 late in the game, but got a couple of Hankins touchdown passes in the waning minutes to pull out the victory.

Biggest Disappointment: Memphis was a no-show on Oct. 13 against Middle Tennessee State, losing badly to a mid-level Sun Belt program.  The Tigers managed just a single touchdown, the first time in 14 games that they'd been held below 10 points.               

Looking Ahead: Although head coach Tommy West has his sights set on another bowl invitation in 2008, to get there, he'll need to completely recharge the defense and find an adequate replacement for Hankins under center.  A name to monitor is Arkelon Hall, a JUCO transfer that was considered one of the nation's brightest quarterback prospects when he originally signed to play for Washington State in 2005.


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