Mike Norvell said the Tiger Walk associated with the Mercer game was one of the greatest he has been a part of since taking over as University of Memphis head coach. He was talking about the pre-game tradition and not the Tigers’ 66-14 walk over the Bears from Macon, Ga.
“The atmosphere was incredible. The student section was great. And our football team showed up, ”Norvell said of the opening game of the 2018-19 season at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
“I think our first drive of the season was 13 plays and 96 yards and finished with a touchdown. On the flip side, to see our defense and the way they attacked that first half of play was incredible.”
Now comes American Athletic Conference opener against Navy in Annapolis, Md..
“There have been incredible battles over the last few years between these two programs. This team (Navy) is coming off a difficult loss. They traveled halfway across the world and got off to an uncharacteristic start,” Norvell said at his weekly press conference.
“They got behind early against a really impressive Hawaii group. Just like you’d expect, they responded. They made it a 10-point game there late in the matchup but just weren’t able to finish it off.”
Norvell is expecting a 60-minute fight against the Midshipmen.
“The previous matchups had not gone well for us because we were just physically beat. Regardless of scheme and matchups, when it came down to 1-on-1s, we weren’t productive in prior years,” he said.
“Last year was a difficult game. It was one that I thought our defense played at a high level. We were able to create five takeaways, so that was a big spark in the game. Still, it was a one-score game late in the contest. It’s going to be the same type of ball game.”
Mercer in review
Playing just the first half, Brady White threw for 358 yards and five touchdowns in his Memphis debut.
The Tigers tied a program record with 56 points in the first half and White completed 22 of 28 passes. The UofM scored seven touchdowns on their first seven possessions, and T.J. Carter had a 35-yard pick-6 intercepting Kaelan Riley.
The Tigers set a school record with 752 total yards of offense. Robert Riddle threw two late touchdowns for Mercer, which had 174 yards of total offense.
White, a graduate transfer from Arizona State, beat out sophomore David Moore for the starting job less than two weeks ago.
(This story includes a report from the Associated Press.)