Marshall seeks first victory amid tragedy in Memphis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2007

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.— Playing on a short week is no longer the worst thing that has happened to the Memphis Tigers football team.

Coach Tommy West was unhappy that his team made up a game at Arkansas State last Thursday and now must play the winless Marshall Thundering Herd Tuesday.

But that paled in comparison to the loss of reserve defensive lineman Taylor Bradford who was shot to death Sunday night.

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Classes were cancelled Monday and players voted to play the game. A moment of silence in Bradford’s honor will be held before the kickoff.

“Our entire team is deeply saddened by the loss of Taylor,” said West. “He was well-respected and a popular member of our team. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Marshall, playing its first Conference USA game, is 0-4 due largely to a grueling schedule that has included Miami, Fla., West Virginia, and Cincinnati. Also in the middle of the tough beginning was Division I-AA power New Hampshire.

Memphis (1-3, 0-1) will be without its top player in running back Joseph Doss who will miss the game due to an injury.

With Doss absent, the bulk of the offense falls on the shoulders of senior quarterback Martin Hankins and wide receiver Maurice Jones.

Hankins is 77 of 126 for 832 yards, five interceptions and five touchdown passes. Jones had 14 catches for 251 yards and a score.

The Tigers have five receivers with more than 100 yards receiving.

The defense has struggled. The Tigers lost 23-21 to Mississippi, beat Jacksonville State 35-14, lost to C-USA foe Central Florida 59-20, and then 35-31 to Arkansas State.

The defense relies on junior linebackers Greg Jackson and Tommy Phelps and seniors Quinton McCrary and Jake Casser. Defensive end Josh Weaver is the top lineman.

Marshall is still struggling with injuries including the loss of defensive end Albert McClellan who was injured prior to the season.

Marshall won last year’s meeting 41-27.