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Birmingham Bad: Wake Forest devastates Memphis, 37-34

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Tigers vanish in second half yet again in another frustrating loss

NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-Memphis vs Wake Forest Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a good Memphis start was overshadowed by a disappointing finish. A 28-10 lead turned into a 37-34 loss. Memphis fans may be glad that football is over until next year.

Memphis’ first half got off to a great start, scoring four touchdowns in four different ways. First there was a long run by Tony Pollard for a touchdown, and Patrick Taylor Jr. added a catch for another score. Then Chris Claybrooks picked off a Jamie Newman pass and returned it for another score. Wake Forest decided to continue kicking to Pollard, and he added a 97-yard kick return for a touchdown for a 28-10 lead. Things were going well for the Tigers until they got in their own way.

Two touchdown runs by Newman brought the Demon Deacons to within four points heading into the half. This continued a concerning trend from this season where Memphis gets up by a decent lead only to see it vanish.

It didn’t get much better from there. Memphis didn’t score at all in the second half until 4:36 left in the fourth quarter. Wake Forest responded with a score of their own with 41 seconds left. Then, the frustration settled in.

Brady White connected with Joey Magnifico for 44 yards to start the final drive. Memphis decided to follow that up with a run by Patrick Taylor that went nowhere. The Tigers called a timeout, and decided to throw another pass that fell incomplete. With nine seconds left in the game, White ran to the left and took a knee to get the ball in the middle of the field and the Tigers took a timeout. Riley Patterson’s first kick was good, but Wake Forest took a timeout. The Demon Deacons took another timeout before Patterson’s actual attempt pushed wide right.

Memphis ended it’s frustrating season in fitting fashion. It’s maddening that White connected with Magnifico, giving Memphis momentum, only to have that followed up with a run. Why? Patterson’s miss isn’t on him, it’s on the coaching staff. This is a team that could easily be 11-3 instead of 8-6.

Yet another frustrating loss for the Memphis Tigers. What else can you say? Next year’s team needs to find a way to win these types of games. Otherwise, another year of frustration awaits. Now, give me a couple months to calm down after this one.