Seth Henigan helps Memphis rout Utah State 38-10 in Dallas

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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DALLAS – The First Responder Bowl provided both a homecoming and redemption for Memphis sophomore quarterback Seth Henigan

Henigan threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns – two of them to Eddie Lewis – and Jeyvon Ducker ran for two scores to help Memphis rout Utah State 38-10 on Tuesday.

The Tigers’ regular-season finale was a 34-31 loss to SMU in the same stadium, when Henigan – from about 70 miles north of Dallas in Denton – threw an interception into the end zone on the final play.

“Seth’s going back home; is he going to have flashbacks?” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said. “To see him come out and do what he did statistically today and lead our team to victory was huge.”

“I put the past in the past,” said Henigan, who was 20 for 29. “I was focused on that opponent, Utah State.”

Henigan’s touchdown passes were all thrown in the second quarter, when Memphis (7-6) outscored Utah State (6-7) 21-3. The Tigers outgained the Aggies in the period 179 yards to 39 and 137-16 in the air.

“We could not cover well. Explosive throws (by Henigan). We could not get anything going offensively at all,” Utah State coach Blake Anderson said. “It just was anemic, especially in the second quarter.”

Ducker had a 1-yard plunge and a 48-yard sprint for scores, both in the fourth quarter.

Lewis caught scoring passes of 15 and 22 yards, and Caden Prieskorn caught a 3-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds remaining in the half for Memphis. Chris Howard added a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter for the Tigers.

Bishop Davenport threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Brian Cobbs in the fourth quarter for the Aggies in relief of quarterback Cooper Legas, who left early in the third quarter with what Anderson said was an injury to either his right ankle or ACL.

Connor Coles kicked a career-long 53-yard field goal for Utah State.

The Aggies gained 261 yards, 89 in the first half, after averaging 362.3 during the season.

“They were just a better team today,” said running back Calvin Tyler Jr., who rushed for 89 yards to finish his two-year Utah State career with 2,006 yards after joining the program from Oregon State. “We knew we had to do everything right to win this game. Unfortunately, things happened, didn’t go our way.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Utah State: The Aggies rallied from a 1-4 start to play in their 10th bowl game in the last 12 seasons after participating in only six in the program’s first 119 seasons.

Memphis: The bowl victory allowed the Tigers to finish with a winning record for the eighth time in the last nine years.

MATHEMATICAL STUMPER

Memphis qualified for its ninth consecutive bowl, the longest streak among Group of Five programs, and is 3-5 during that run. What?

The 2021 Tigers were invited to play in the Hawaii Bowl, but the game was canceled less than 24 hours before kickoff because their opponent, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, were sidelined by COVID-19 issues.

Hall tosses 3 TDs, rallies No. 19 BYU past Utah State 38-26

Utah State v Brigham Young
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PROVO, Utah – BYU survived another slow start to avoid a potentially damaging loss to an instate rival.

Jaren Hall threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns to help the No. 19 Cougars to a 38-26 victory over Utah State on Thursday night.

Hall, who favored his right shoulder after a late hit near the end of the third quarter, has thrown for at least 250 yards in nine consecutive games. Kody Epps finished with 86 yards and a touchdown on five catches. Christopher Brooks ran for 90 yards and a score on 11 carries.

BYU (4-1) beat Utah State (1-4) for the third straight time in the Battle for the Old Wagon Wheel. It wasn’t an easy task. The Cougars were blindsided early by energetic play by the Aggies on both sides of the ball.

“They were more physical than us. They had more energy than us,” BYU receiver Gunner Romney said. “It seems like they were more motivated to play. But luckily we went back and made some good adjustments at halftime and came out with a little more fire and we were able to get the job done.”

Cooper Legas threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns while adding 54 yards and another score on the ground to lead the Aggies. Legas, who filled in for injured starter Logan Bonner, also threw a pair of interceptions. Calvin Tyler, Jr. added 104 yards on 18 carries.

Bonner is sidelined with a season-ending foot injury, so Legas will be Utah State’s starting quarterback going forward after making his first career start against BYU.

“He’s waited for his opportunity and when it showed up, he did a phenomenal job,” Aggies coach Blake Anderson said. “I’m sure like any quarterback, there’s a couple of plays he’d love to have back. But, man, he gave us a chance to win.”

The Aggies lost their fourth straight game and fell to 6-65 against Top 25 teams.

Utah State took a 7-0 lead after Legas capped the Aggies’ opening drive with a 7-yard run. Things were on the verge of unraveling for Utah State after that early score.

BYU covered 65 yards in two plays – a 34 yard catch by Romney and 31-yard catch-and-run by Keanu Hill – to even the score. Then, Max Tooley reeled in a tipped pass from Legas and returned it 32 yards to give the Cougars their first lead at 14-7.

Utah State bounced back and shut down BYU’s offense after its initial drive. The Cougars went three-and-out on three consecutive possessions, opening the door for the Aggies to retake a 17-14 lead on a 14-yard catch by Brian Cobbs. BYU lost a total of nine yards on those three drives.

The Cougars found some life on offense again in the third quarter. Ethan Erickson snagged a high pass for a go-ahead 14-yard score to cap off BYU’s opening second-half drive. Then, on the Cougars’ next drive, Kody Epps caught three straight passes – culminating in an 8-yard score that extended BYU’s lead to 31-20.

BYU averaged 9.0 yards on 22 third quarter plays after totaling only 107 yards on 19 plays during the first half.

“We just came out with intent to keep the energy up and come out full speed, taking shots and trying to move the ball, get things rolling for our offense and help our defense,” Epps said. “When we make plays on offense, it helps our defense. Everything starts to mesh and fall together. That was the biggest thing.”

The Cougars finally got their running game going in the fourth quarter. Brooks scored on an 18-yard run to cap off six straight running plays and give BYU a 38-20 lead.

THE TAKEAWAY

Utah State: Turnovers continued to be a problem for the Aggies. An interception return gave BYU its first lead early in the first quarter while a red zone fumble only a few seconds into the second quarter killed a potential scoring drive.

BYU: The Cougars’ running game woes resurfaced in the first half. BYU did not gain positive yardage on a running play until late in the second quarter and tallied minus-21 rushing yards before halftime. It was the fewest rushing yards in a half for BYU since tallying minus-28 rushing yards against Marshall in the second half of the 1999 Motor City Bowl.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

BYU could move up in the AP Top 25 after winning its second straight game.

UP NEXT

Utah State: Hosts Air Force on Oct. 8.

BYU: Plays Notre Dame in Las Vegas on Oct. 8.

Young gets 6 TDs, No. 1 Alabama routs Utah State, 55-0

Utah State vs Alabama
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Bryce Young‘s five touchdown passes were nothing all that new for Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner.

That 63-yard sprint down the left sideline and other big runs presented a seldom seen side of his game.

Young didn’t just throw for those touchdowns – all in the first half – he even ran for 100 yards and a score in No. 1 Alabama’s 55-0 opening victory over Utah State on Saturday night.

It was, he said, a “cool” and “interesting” experience.

“I just try to do whatever is best for this team, whatever the defense gives us,” Young said. “That’s definitely interesting. It definitely wasn’t something I was planning. For me, it’s just taking whatever the defense gives us.

“Today that was just what was available. It’s cool.”

The Crimson Tide began their quest for national title redemption with a not unexpected start-to-finish domination of the six-touchdown underdog Aggies (1-1). Less anticipated: Young’s runs.

Known primarily as a passer with a penchant for scrambling and buying time, Young flashed his running ability more than he ever did last season, including a 63-yarder down the left sideline.

He also spread the ball around to Alabama’s new set of playmakers, with two touchdown passes to both Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton and Traeshon Holden and some handoffs to Jahmyr Gibbs.

Young ran five times after netting zero yards thanks to sacks last season with a previous long run of 16 yards. He also completed 18 of 28 passes for 195 yards before exiting one drive into the second half following his TD run.

“I see Bryce do that on the regular, so it wasn’t really new to me,” Alabama safety Brian Branch said. “Just watching him be himself out there is truly amazing. Playing with a Heisman winner, I can’t describe it.”

Gibbs, a much talked about transfer from Georgia Tech, flashed his speed with a 58-yard run on the first play after the half. He finished with 93 yards on nine rushes.

His backup, Jase McClellan, caught a pair of TD passes.

Alabama outgained the Aggies 559-136 in total yards.

“It is what it is, and I’ve seen people in the SEC come here and get treated exactly the same way,” Utah State coach Blake Anderson said. “We’re not built that way. We’re a long ways from being able to play that game physically and match up. Maybe we’ll never be able to.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Utah State, which finished last season ranked, had won two straight games against Power 5 teams and started off strong with a 23-yard gain. Then the offense stalled and the defense was overwhelmed by Young & Co. The Aggies couldn’t turn a late blocked punt into points.

Alabama: Spent the offseason stewing over a loss to Georgia in the national championship game and came in as the favorite to win the national title, according to FanDuel sportsbook. Then Alabama did pretty much what it wanted to against a mismatched opponent. The Tide put some new playmakers on display after losing receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie III and tailback Brian Robinson Jr.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Alabama didn’t do anything to diminish its status as the team to beat, but No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Ohio State got the chance to make much bigger statements. The Bulldogs beat 11th-ranked Oregon 49-3. The Buckeyes topped No. 5 Notre Dame, 21-10.

SIDELINED Louisville transfer wide receiver Tyler Harrell had a walking boot on his right foot and didn’t dress for the game. Tight end Cameron Latu also missed the game with a knee injury.

CHANNELING SABAN

Saban emphasized it wasn’t a perfect performance and there’s plenty of room for improvement. His players echoed that sentiment.

“It was good, but we still have stuff to work on,” Branch said. “It’s not like we played a perfect game.”

Added Saban: “No disrespect to Utah State – their players played hard, they’ve got a good little team. But we’re going to play teams that are much more physical and aggressive and talented than what they are, so we’re going to have to do things correctly.”

UP NEXT

Utah State hosts Weber State on Sept. 10.

Alabama visits a Texas team led by former Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.