MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After dropping a wide-open pass in the endzone against North Texas in the third quarter, in that moment Memphis Tigers senior wide receiver Joseph Scates experienced something he hadn’t before.

” I want to say it’s happened before, but to my knowledge, Saturday’s game was the first time I’ve kept my composure. I didn’t let my emotions get in the way of the bigger picture of what we had in front of us,” said Scates.

After losing a comfortable 24-point lead to North Texas, Memphis trailed for the first time with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. Scates had another opportunity at redemption, a chance he wasn’t going to let slip away like that previously dropped ball that would have given the Tigers a more cushioned lead.

” He (Scates) manifested it and he’s been working hard this offseason to better himself and I’m just really happy for him for him to make that play for our team,” said Memphis Tigers quarterback Seth Henigan.

“I told myself like you’re about to go win this game for us Joe, which why I was more in shocked because I told myself that,” said Scates. ” Once I came down with the ball, I didn’t know I was in the endzone until I looked down and saw the green and it was just like my heart dropped. It’s something I’ll probably never forget”.

Not only did he win the game for Memphis as they became bowl-eligible for a ninth consecutive season, but he remembered his ‘why’.

“I became a father at a very young age. I was 15 when I became a dad. Sometimes I can just go through the motions. When I do, I just think about my little boys and always find the extra will to finish or just go hard in whatever it is that I’m doing,” said Scates.

Joseph thinks about being the best dad he can be to his son’s Ayden and Joseph keeps him moving forward when times get tough.

“I’ll honestly say my kids are my biggest motivation”.

Every time he steps onto the field he thinks about creating a better future for his children.

“I just wanted to be able to just let them live a life that I always wanted to live. I know I will. I know I’ll make that happen for them”.