MEMPHIS — Despite leading the country in touchdown receptions, which he had two against Mississippi State on Saturday, it was his electric punt return against the Bulldogs, 94 yards, which allowed the Tigers’ Calvin Austin to win a second straight American Athletic Conference player of the week award.
This time, taking home Special teams player of the week in the U of M’s win over Mississippi State.
While that play is probably the most talked about play from Saturday’s upset win, it may not have been the biggest play or series of plays that led the Tigers to their first win over Mississippi State in almost thirty years.
At the start of the third quarter and down 17-7, Seth Henigan picked the worse time to throw his first career interception. But the true freshman saved a touchdown by making the tackle.
Then, with a first and goal at the U of M three, the Tigers defense came up with a fourth down stop and a goal line stand, keeping the score 17-7.
Henigan and the offense then went 98 yards in 12 plays, ending with an Austin touchdown.
The Tigers would outscore state 24-6 over the next 20 minutes on their way to the 31-29 victory.
“Seth throws his first interception and then goes and makes that tackle. If he doesn’t make that tackle, we may be having a different conversation here today, right,” said Tigers coach Ryan Silverfield. “He goes and makes that tackle to prevent them from running a pick six back and then, our defense holds them. All the way to a fourth down stop on the two yard line and then we turn around back and put together a 98-yard drive. I think Seth handled it just fine. That’s the type of young man he is. It shows that Seth was like, ok, that’s part of football. How do I respond?”
“We always preach next play mentality and after that pick, I made the tackle and the defense held them,” Henigan said. “That was just my mentality, take it one play at a time. Despite that interception, we tried to come back and do some things the right way to put some points on the board.”
The Tigers will look to run their homefield winning streak to 18 straight Saturday when they host Texas-San Antonio at the Liberty Bowl.