Memphis Football’s 10th Most Embarrassing Loss Ever

This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of MemphiSport.

The University of Memphis has been playing football for almost one hundred years. In that time, the Tigers have given fans some great moments to celebrate and many more terrible moments to shake their heads at in disgust.  After coming off a 1-11 campaign in 2010 and starting this season with multiple blowout losses, it has become almost impossible for Tiger football fans to not be embarrassed. This isn’t the first time Memphis fans have wanted to cover their heads with brown paper sacks and it won’t be the last. To compare where Tiger football’s current situation stacks up historically, MemphiSport has assembled the list of the 10 Most Embarrassing Losses in Tiger football history.

Tiger Football’s 10th Most Embarrassing Loss Ever

October 24, 1987
Southern Miss 17, Memphis 14
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium

This is the first of two appearances on this list by the Golden Eagles. This game featured freshman quarterback and future Hall of Fame member Brett Favre. The 1987 matchup was the closest game Memphis played against Favre in the quarterback’s four-year career in Hattiesburg, MS. Favre threw for 280 yards and a touchdown in a thrilling three-point victory over Memphis.

This particular game in the “Black and Blue” rivalry lived up to its nickname with big hits (and fumbles) all night long. Appearing out of sync the entire game, Memphis turned the ball over on their first three possessions courtesy of sloppy weather and careless play. Even with all of the Tiger miscues, Southern Miss only had a touchdown lead going into half. Memphis managed to tie the game at 14 late and appeared to be on track. Then it all fell apart for the Tigers. Southern Miss kicked a field goal to take a three-point lead with 5:22 on the clock, more than enough time for Memphis to get a score and finish on top. However, an ineffective offensive series for the Tigers saw the ball right back in Brett Favre’s hand with a chance to ice the game. Then the unimaginable happened. After Memphis forced a three and out, the Tigers got a roughing the kicker penalty on the punt return, thus giving the Golden Eagles a first down and allowing them to end the game for good. Brett Favre’s Southern Miss teams went on to outscore Memphis 105-55.

Memphis Football’s 10th Most Embarrassing Loss Ever

List by MemphiSport, Descriptions by C.J. Hurt





  1. Sorry, but you’re WAY off base with two of these three losses. ANY loss this program has suffered over the past 100 years that is fewer than 28 points is not embarrassing. Many have, in fact been MORAL VICTORIES.

    Memphis losing by one point at Rocky Top is embarrassing for THEM, not us. Losing to Favre was never an embarrassment.

    Consider for one moment that All three of Chuck Stobart’s 6-5 teams were better than anything Rip Scherer or Tommy West ever put on the field. But we fired all three of them.

    Consider for one moment that both of Richard Williamson’s 7-4 teams were better than anything we’ve seen in the Liberty Bowl since. Fired him, too.

    Pancoast had two great years, Spook had a few intermittent great years, but nothing can be sustained here. Didn’t fire either of them, but didn’t have enough sense to pay enough to keep Pancoast OR Bartow when we had them.

    Do you see the pattern? The writing is spray painted on the wall just as clearly as the graffiti on the railroad cars parked beside the Liberty Bowl.

    PULL THE PLUG. It ain’t gonna happen, EVER. The program loses $2 MILLION DOLLARS a year.

    This year SEVENTY TEAMS will compete in post-season bowl games. Many teams who elect to participate will LOSE MONEY just taking the trip.

    The top ten most embarrassing losses will all occur this year.


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