Prolific freshman QB Seth Henigan readies Memphis for Miss. State

Mississippi State has won its opening two games for the first time since 2019, but the Bulldogs are looking for repeat performances like last Saturday’s going forward.

In a border game this Saturday, they will travel three hours to Tennessee to face the Memphis Tigers in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

A slight home underdog last week against North Carolina State, head coach Mike Leach’s squad led throughout and handled the Wolfpack 24-10.

After a poor showing in a season-opening 35-34 win against Louisiana Tech, sophomore tailback Dillon Johnson rebounded by leading the Bulldogs (2-0) in rushing and receiving.

Johnson credited Saturday’s turnaround to a visit to church after he fell into a “dark moment for a second.”

“I have rough games; everybody has rough games,” Johnson told the Clarion-Ledger. “But it’s all just a confidence thing, bro.”

Leach said the 6-foot, 215-pound running back is underappreciated.

“I find Dillon to be a little bit more of a surprise to others that aren’t watching the film and the practices every day because he’s really been doing some great things since the start of camp,” Leach said.

Second-year head coach Ryan Silverfield has seen his Tigers (2-0) benefit from some outstanding play from true freshman quarterback Seth Henigan and an explosive offense in wins over Nicholls and Arkansas State.

In replacing Memphis standout signal-caller Brady White, the 18-year-old Henigan etched his name in the school’s record book by going 22-for-33 for 417 yards and five touchdowns — the eighth-highest single-game yardage total in Tigers history.

The Denton, Tex., native won the job after junior Grant Gunnell went down with a lower-body injury, and Henigan has been exceptional in guiding an offense that is averaging 48.5 points and leads the nation in total offense — 634.5 yards per game.

Henigan is responsible for much of it, completing 41 of 65 passes for 682 yards — the ninth-most in FBS.

“Everyone on the team has some experience,” Henigan said about his poise after the 55-50 win at Arkansas State. “Just to know that those guys have my back puts confidence in me that I can play to the level I’m supposed to and expected to.”

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