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RECAP: Memphis Dominate in 2022 First Responder Bowl

Seth Henigan and company never trailed Tuesday afternoon in Dallas.

NCAA Football: First Responder Bowl-Memphis at Utah State Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

No program in the G5 has a longer postseason appearance streak than the Memphis Tigers.

In their ninth consecutive year of bowl eligibility, Ryan Silverfield’s squad took a trip to Dallas to face Blake Anderson’s Utah State Aggies in the Servpro First Responder Bowl. The Tigers took an early lead and never looked back in a 38- 10 win.

Memphis ends the season 7-6 while Utah State falls to 6-7.

How It Happened

Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan, a native of Denton Ryan High School in Texas, completed 20 passes on 29 attempts for 284 yards and three touchdowns in this game. Henigan was named the MVP of the game for his efforts.

Memphis kicker Chris Howard put the Tigers on the board first with a 26-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter. Utah State kicker Connor Coles answered with what may have been his team’s best play of the game with a 53-yard field goal on the ensuing drive.

Henigan would go on to throw three touchdowns in the second quarter, two of which were to senior receiver Eddie Lewis. Lewis finished with five catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns in this game. Henigan’s other touchdown in the second quarter went to Caden Prieskorn at the end of a 10-play, 52-yard drive that only lasted 1:38.

The storyline of the game was supposed to be Henigan dueling it out with Utah State’s Cooper Legas. Legas left the game in the third quarter with what was reported to be a high ankle sprain. He was replaced by freshman Bishop Davenport.

Davenport threw the first touchdown of his college career in the fourth quarter on a 44-yard connection to Brian Cobbs.

With a substantial lead at that point, the Tigers went to a more run-heavy offense that allowed Jeyvon Drucker to pick up 83 yards on 13 carries. Drucker also broke off two touchdown runs of one-yard and 48-yards.

The Memphis defense also picked off Utah State passers three times on the afternoon. Cornerback Sylvonta Oliver had two while safety Joel Williams had one.

The Take

This season had its frustrations in Memphis. Four straight losses in the middle of the season had people wondering if this Tiger team would even make the postseason. But, the Tigers were ultimately rewarded for their perseverance today. They played what may have been their best game against FBS opponent this season, at least offensively. While Ryan Silverfield probably isn’t thrilled with two six-loss seasons in a row, their second consecutive bowl win (their 2021 bowl game was cancelled), another solid recruiting class coming in, and a weaker AAC in 2023 helps provide a brighter look to the future.