Tigers Tony Pollard wins American honor

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MEMPHIS, Tenn-Redshirt sophomore Tony Pollard was named the American Athletic Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week by the league office, Monday. Teammates Curtis Akins and Darrell Henderson were also named to the weekly honor roll for their work in Memphis’ 37-29 win over Louisiana Monroe.

Pollard, the defending special teams player of the year for the conference, now leads the country with a 72.0 yard per return average. To open the second half of the ULM game, Pollard took the opening kickoff 99 yards for his third career kickoff return touchdown. The 144 yards against ULM pushes Pollard to second in the Memphis record book with 1,212 career return yards. It was also his seventh career game with 100 or more kick return yards, putting him two games behind Memphis career leader Michael Grandberry (2005-08). He is the only player in Memphis history to have multiple kickoff return touchdowns.

This is Pollard’s first career weekly honor from the conference. It is also the first weekly honor roll appearance for teammates Curtis Akins and Darrell Henderson. Akins led Memphis with nine tackles against UCF, including two forced fumbles and two pass break-ups. Henderson had his first career 100-yard plus rushing game, going for 169 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries on Thursday.

Memphis opens American Athletic Conference play on the road this weekend, playing at UCF, Saturday, at 8 p.m. (ET)/7 p.m. (CT). That game will be carried on ESPNews. That match-up will feature two of the conference’s defending players of the year, Pollard and UCF’s Shaquem Griffin, the league’s defensive player of the year last season.

Tigers coach Mike Norvell announced on Monday that linebacker Darien Porter and nose tackle Jared Gentry will miss the rest of the year with season-ending injuries suffered in Thursday’s win over Louisiana-Monroe. Senior linebacker Jackson Dillon will miss the Central Florida game with an undisclosed injury and be re-evaluated after that.


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