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Tigers ready to play SMU after COVID-19 delay

The University of Memphis football team has started practices again after having to put the football season on hold due to a number of COVID-19 cases.

The Tigers defeated the Arkansas State University Red Wolves in the season opener September 5 but halted all football operations a few days later.

Memphis then had to postpone its game against the Houston Cougars and cancel its game at the University of Texas at San Antonio. On Saturday, the Tigers are scheduled to face Southern Methodist University in Dallas. It will be the first conference game of the season for both schools.

Last year when the two teams faced off, the matchup was featured on ESPN’s “College GameDay.” Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium was sold out as the Tigers defeated SMU 54-48, handing the Mustangs their first loss of the season.

SMU quarterback Shane Buchelle, who threw for 456 yards and four touchdowns in the defeat, will be looking to make up for the loss on Saturday.

Memphis head coach Ryan Silverfield is ready to play another game instead of having to answer questions about the team’s recovery.

“We line up every week regardless of who our opponent is. Hopefully, we have a sense of urgency,” he said. “This past month has been quite different. I think our guys are just ready to get back out there and play.”

Throughout the week of preparation, the Tigers have been very cheerful, even willing to chat up the media.

“It’s exciting and something to look forward to… to get back to what you were expected to do all season,” said Memphis quarterback Brady White.

Despite the interruptions to the season, White does not see the timing and offense being an issue. The team did not have a spring practice and the offense still played well against Arkansas State in the season opener.

Memphis and SMU will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game can be seen on ESPN2.

 

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