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Tiger’s Calvin Austin named AAC Special Teams Player of the Week

(WMC)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 7:14 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It may forever go down in the annals of University of Memphis Football as “The Play.” Whatever historical value it retains, the punt return touchdown by the Tigers Calvin Austin is the play that keeps on giving for the speedster from Harding Academy here in the city.

The heads-up play by Austin, who grabs the ball between several Mississippi State defenders and takes it to the house for a 94-yard touchdown, earns him the American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week Award.

There’s controversy around it, sure as the Bulldogs thought they had downed the ball but the whistle never blew, and Austin picked it up as a live ball and scored the longest punt return touchdown by a Tiger since 1975.

Shout out to Keith Wright against Louisville.

The SEC released a statement saying they could’ve replayed the play because one ref gave an inadvertent signal to stop the clock, and there happened to be two Memphis Tiger players who both wore a number four on their jersey on the field, but the game’s over, what’s done is done. 

Austin, who came to Memphis on a track scholarship and won All American Honors on the 4X100 Meter Relay Team, walked on to the Tiger Football team and has become its star playmaker.

“I was looking and waiting to see if someone would hand it to the Referee,” said Austin. “And on our punt return team, we always emphasize the ball is never dead till they hand it to the official. I just sprinted to the ball and knew that i could get it and run it. And even if i could’ve gotten to the 5-yard line and fumbled it. it would still be our ball.”

Austin also caught two touchdown passes in the game.

The last one was the eventual game-winner on a wide receiver throwback screen in the 32-29 victory. Memphis next hosts Texas-San Antonio. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Liberty Bowl.

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