MEMPHIS (AP) — Over the past week, Memphis was fond of saying that Thursday night’s game against No. 20 Mississippi State would give a good indication about how much the program has progressed. The apparent answer?
Not much. Mississippi State hammered Memphis 59-14 at the Liberty Bowl, rolling up a school-record 645 total yards in the process. The Tigers were down 31-7 by halftime and never made the game competitive.
It was a brutal start to Memphis coach Larry Porter’s second season.
“I don’t want to hit a panic button, because I do feel as though there is more continuity in our defense this season,” Porter said. “But, again, we can’t sustain the big plays that we gave up.”
Huge game for Ballard
Mississippi State’s Vick Ballard was responsible for many of them, needing just 10 carries to rush for 166 yards and three touchdowns. The Bulldogs dominated from the start, gaining 405 total yards in the first half. Things slowed down a little after that, but the Tigers were already on their way to an embarrassing loss.
“A lot of big plays, which is great,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. “I love big plays. I love all those explosive plays.” (September 2, 2011, Page 9A)