MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Tigers football team took on the SMU Mustangs in the Liberty Bowl Saturday night.
Thousands of Tigers fans started the day with energy. And that energy carried over to Tiger Lane for what fans say is one of the most packed and exciting Tiger Walks they've seen!
“The city of Memphis showed up. Everybody that’s affiliated with the University of Memphis just did an amazing job. ESPN did an incredible job,” said Richard Cisneros, Tigers fan.
It was an unbelievable sight for many Tiger fans who thought the football program might be shut down 10 years ago.
“As an ex-player, it’s a ton of fun. Just hoping we can keep building on it, and every year just get a little better and keep that going, and especially the sun being out here. I’ve had a blast,” said Scott Dill, former UofM football player.
“This is what Memphis wants. This is what we’ve been building for for 10 years. Longer than that, honestly, but 10 years ago this program was almost dead. And for the football to bring this to the city itself,” said Cisneros.
At the front of Tiger Walk was the family of star Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell.
Gainwell and his brother, Curtis Gainwell Jr. -- who suffered a stroke while weightlifting in college -- were featured nationwide during College GameDay.
Gainwell says his brother is his motivation on the football field.
“It feels good man, to let the world know who we are,” said Gainwell Jr.
“To come out to Benton, Mississippi and interview a small family like we got, and to show love, even Memphis showing love. Hey, that's wonderful man,” said Gainwell Sr.
The Gainwell family says they love seeing all the fan support from the entire city.
In front of a sold-out, completely full stadium Gainwell was the first Tiger to score a touchdown.
The Tigers won 54-48.