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Calvin Austin III makes once in a lifetime play on special teams in Tigers 31-29 win over Mississippi State

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 11:19 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The first thing you learn when you start to play sports, don’t stop until the whistle blows. So when Mississippi State thought they downed a punt and Calvin Austin III saw the ball sitting on the ground, he scooped it up and ran it back 94 yards for a touchdown.

“It doesn’t get much better than this,” Austin said. “To do it in front of the city, on a big day like this, it’s just a very humbling experience and moment and that’s a play I’ll never forget.”

Special teams coordinator Charles Bankins has a mantra, ‘Stars be stars’ and Calvin Austin III solidified his stardom in Memphis with that heads up play. With a play he says his dad taught him growing up.

Since the ball originally hit off a Mississippi State player, it was a live ball. The Bulldogs didn’t secure the ball and hand it to the ref and there was no whistle. The SEC released a statement saying they could’ve replayed the play because the ref gave an inadvertent signal to stop the clock, and there happened to be two Tigers in a number 4 jersey on the field, but game’s over what’s done is done. A punt return to go along with his two second half touchdowns. Austin’s the Memphis kid, who came in as a walk-on and showed out in front of more than 40,000 people including hall of Famer Isaac Bruce.

“Coach Glidden, Coach Silverfield, Bankins they always emphasize being ready for the moment and in a situation like that that was a moment to help the team out,” Austin added. “It just always remembering everything you’ve been taught and putting it into action.”

Quarterback Seth Henigan was on the sidelines watching, “Everyone was going crazy in the stands and on the sidelines, we were running down the field. A lot of people were confused on the sidelines if the call would stand. I was confused at first and then whenever they said it was a touchdown I was extremely excited.”

Calvin Austin III now the number three receiver in the country thru three games. The Tigers host UTSA Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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