Malik Foreman made a mental error that almost cost Tennessee the game against Georgia.
But at Texas A&M, Foreman was a hero.
With minutes to go in the game, A&M running back Traveyon Williams raced down the sideline with a chance to end the game. But Malik Foreman had other ideas, racing down the field to knock the ball out of Williams’ hands and through the end zone for a touchback.
Foreman’s effort was the perfect example of General Neyland’s third game maxim.
“If at first the game or the breaks go against you, don’t let up, put on more steam.”
Never give up on a play 🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/JFgA7fNFV0
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 9, 2016
For Butch Jones, Foreman’s play was “everything.”
“That (epitomizes) everything. That play manufactured itself in practice two or three years ago in Devaun Swafford,” Jones said. “We show that clip all the time in our practice. That’s a never-say-die attitude. That’s a never-quit attitude. That gave us an opportunity to put ourselves in position to force the game to overtime.”
Todd Kelly was proud of Foreman’s ability to embody the principles Tennessee practices so often.
“Malik really emphasizes the whole idea of ’63 Strain’ — six seconds of three great efforts,” Kelly said. “Sometimes the play might go longer than six seconds, but you still have to give your all and bust your tail to get to the ball and that’s what he did. He didn’t give up.”
It was Foreman’s lack of hustle that almost cost Tennessee the game against Jacob Eason and Georgia. If Tennessee had escaped A&M with a victory, Foreman’s play would have gone down in Tennessee history.
The play itself tells the story of the Vols’ season through six games.
Early adversity leads to incredible hustle, culminating in a successful result. Neyland’s third maxim continues to be Tennessee’s favorite way to win.
“This football team has great resolve and resiliency. They just believe they’re going to find a way to win,” Butch Jones said after the loss to A&M.
Foreman’s effort late in Aggieland has to last for sixty minutes. With Alabama coming to town, Tennessee will be counting on Foreman to lead a depleted secondary against the likes of Calvin Ridley and Jalen Hurts.