With Mississippi State trailing the Auburn Tigers in his senior season, Bulldogs quarterback Matt Wyatt created a memory he will never forget. But for Wyatt, who now is the team’s color analyst on the Mississippi State Radio Network, the winning 11-yard pass to Matt Butler isn’t the memory he holds onto from that game in 1999.
It was the pass to his dad, Joe, that brings a smile to Matt’s face.
“My dad was sitting about 25 rows up in the State section, and after we took a knee and won, I ran over to his section and threw him the game ball,” Wyatt said on his Facebook page.
To answer your question, yes, the elder Wyatt caught the ball and a memory was born.
“I could tell he was looking for us, but I was surprised when I saw the ball coming,” Joe Wyatt told GN. “It wasn’t a perfect pass, but I hauled it in.”
The Wyatts are from Prattville, Ala., which is just 45 minutes from Auburn. And Wyatt definitely has fond memories of playing Auburn. The Bulldogs had the Tigers’ number while he was wearing maroon and white, going 3-1 against Auburn. There also was a 20-0 win on the Plains in ’97.
Matt Wyatt recalls his dad spending “hours and hours throwing the ball and playing catch. It didn’t matter whether he was tired, he always got up and went outside with me.”
For the elder Wyatt, he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“Before Matt could walk, I sat him up against a pillow and we rolled the ball back and forth,” Joe Wyatt said. “He was born with the will to win.”
Matt Wyatt understood the value of hard work.
“There were days when I would have Matt work with me all day during the hot summer and then after supper, he’s headed back to the weight room or to the field to throw more passes on his own,” Joe Wyatt said. “I knew from a young age he was a hard worker.”
For all of the touchdowns in high school and college thAT Matt Wyatt threw, it’s the one pass inside Jordan-Hare Stadium his dad will always hold most dear.
As for the ball Matt threw into the stands, it’s at his dad’s house.
For Joe, though, it wasn’t just that ball that holds good memories.
“I’ll never forget Matt telling me the most fun he ever had was throwing the ball with me in the yard,” Joe Wyatt said.
(You can follow Brad Logan on Twitter @BradLoganCOTE)
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.