The Memphis Tigers’ marketing department concocted a creative promo this offseason — an offer known as “Win Together” by the ticketing office.
Buy a $60 ticket to the home opener against Bethune-Cookman of the FCS. If Memphis wins that matchup, then the next home is free. Then, the cycle continues until the Tigers finally lose a home game. Given the Tigers’ recent track record of success at home, winning 25 of 29 prior to the launch of the 2023 season, this deal seemed like a logical gamble.
Memphis entered the season with a 6-game home slate featuring Bethune-Cookman, Navy, Boise State, South Florida, and SMU. The Tigers are now halfway through that home slate and purchasers of the ticket promo are still flocking into Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium for free.
The Tigers’ undefeated record at home in 2023 appeared to be in serious jeopardy Saturday when Boise State paid its first-ever visit. The Broncos defense gave Memphis fits in the early going, while their offense stormed to a 17-0 lead thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns by Ashton Jeanty. But Jeanty’s second end zone appearance to produce a 3-score gap on the scoreboard created a fire within the Tigers.
Memphis made quick work of erasing the deficit into something manageable. Third-year starting quarterback Seth Henigan guided two rapid touchdown drives prior to halftime, delivering a touchdown strike to Roc Taylor on the first and handing it off to Blake Watson for a score on the second. All of a sudden, homefield advantage seemed to be favoring the team that was accustomed to winning at the stadium formerly known as the Liberty Bowl.
The offensive production dwindled in the third quarter. But the major contribution came from another facet of the game. After originally sending its offense out to convert a 4th and 1, Boise State head coach Andy Avalos changed his mind. The Broncos then attempted a chip shot field goal late in the period, but Memphis’ special teams rose to the occasion, blocked the kick, and returned it the other way for a go-ahead touchdown.
After forcing a short Boise State punt stemming from the Memphis 38-yard line, the Tigers’ offense opened up the lead to an even greater margin. Henigan air mailed a 59-yard bomb to Toledo transfer DeMeer Blankumsee for his second passing touchdown of the game to make it 28 unanswered for the home team.
Jeanty, who finished with four scores total, would score a pair of receiving touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but neither vaulted the Broncos in front. Rather, both of his touchdown receptions sliced double-digit deficits to one-score. After Jeanty’s final strike with 39 seconds remaining, Boise State attempted an onside kick, but to no avail.
Memphis hung on to secure a 17-point comeback victory — the greatest deficit erased by the program since coming back from 21 against UCF in 2020. The Tigers are tied for the overall best record in the AAC at 4-1 and they also share the crown of the conference standings with South Florida, posting a 2-0 league record.
Tigers fans who paid $60 to watch their home team eviscerate Bethune-Cookman 56-14 on Sept. 2 have certainly got their money’s worth. They were able to attend Memphis’ Thursday night thrilling win over Navy on Sept. 14, and they watched the Tigers rise from a 17-0 deficit to upend Boise State in an exciting non-conference bout.
Next up might be the ticket package’s greatest challenge yet. After a bye week, Memphis battles Tulane on Friday, Oct. 13 at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, looking to knock off the reigning AAC champions. It will be the fourth game for some folks who spent $60 on the season opener, and for Memphis faithful, hopefully not the final game before the promo runs its course.