Tigers-SMU renew instant college football classic Saturday

Tigers recall classic SMU matchup at Liberty Bowl

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The plan is for the 24th ranked Memphis Tigers to jet set to Dallas Friday to play their new conference opener against SMU. 

It’ll be Memphis' first game in a month thanks to the coronavirus. How it went down last year between these two teams was an instant ESPN classic, on one of the greatest days in Memphis sports history.

It was a perfect scene. A chilly November morning. Beale Street and College GameDay.

For what was the game of the week, and for the Memphis Tigers the biggest game in Tigers history. Two undefeated AAC teams battling in prime time. Memphis ranked 24, SMU ranked 15.

“Took a great sense of pride in our city, our fan base and we say wow, this is what it could be,” said Tigers Head Coach Ryan Silverfield.

A shootout at the Liberty Bowl. Combined, more than 100 points scored. Highlighted by Tigers Antonio Gibson, the triple threat. Catching a touchdown pass, a 78-yard touchdown run and a 97-yard kick-off return.

For SMU it was James Proche, 149 receiving yards and a touchdown. Plus, Ke’ Mon Freeman who punched in two scores. Well, this year all those players are gone.

“SMU we have had history,” said Tigers quarterback Brady White. “We had College GameDay last year, but we’re also the champions, we’re top dog. We have the biggest targets on our back. Everyone’s going to be gunning for us. So we expect that every week.”

White has been all business this week leading up to the conference opener.

SMU brings back it’s veteran under center as well -- Shane Buechele who has thrown for more than 850 yards and seven touchdowns through the Mustangs first three wins.

“The word I’ve used for him is he’s efficient,” said Silverfield. “He’s got pinpoint accuracy. He’s got above average mobility, but his experience and ability to put their guys into weapons around him in situations to have success, we’ve seen it he’s a surgeon out there.”

Even though the Tigers haven’t played in a month, White sees it as a team coming in refreshed and ready to get back to what they had planned this fall.

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