MEMPHIS — Seth Henigan arrived in Memphis in January, straight out of high school and leading his team to a state title in Texas.
Saturday, Henigan became the first true freshman quarterback ever to start a season opener for the Tigers, leading Memphis to a 42-17 win over Nicholls.
Henigan finished 19 of 32 for 265 yards and one touchdown.
“I know the preparation that I put into this game and the amount of hours the coaches have put into me and I reciprocated back to them,” Henigan said. “I just know that I worked really hard and I felt prepared for this game. It wasn’t really too overwhelming.”
Arizona transfer Grant Gunnell, battling Henigan since spring practice for the starting job, could only watch from the sidelines as he did not dress in the season opener and is expected to miss at least a couple more weeks with an injury suffered during fall camp.
In other Tiger debuts, Joe Doyle was a perfect 5 for 5 on field goals. Doyle transferred to Memphis from Tennessee to handle the Tigers punting duties. He actually hadn’t kicked field goals since his senior year of high school.
The Tigers may have also found their top running back.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Thomas made the most of his first career start, running for 147 yards and his first career touchdown as the Tigers ground game put up 322 yards in the win over the Colonels.
Nicholls scored first on a Lindsey Scott’s 10-yard pass to KJ Franklin but the Tigers responded with 32 straight points.