KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Malik Foreman has had a roller coaster first six weeks of the season.
After training camp, the senior was named Tennessee’s starting nickelback for the first two games of 2016 before losing his job to Raahaan Gaulden.
Foreman was then suspended for the win over Ohio and played sporadically against Florida.
On Saturday, the senior surprisingly made his first start at cornerback in nearly two years.
Got all that?
With Justin Martin suspended, the Volunteers shifted Foreman outside and the veteran defensive back was front and center during the final few minutes of Tennessee’s miracle win over Georgia.
Foreman recorded 4 tackles and made what-looked-to-be the game-sealing interception with under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Foreman picked off Bulldogs quarterback Jacob Eason with a tip-toeing interception along Tennessee’s sideline.
“I thought Malik did some really good things,” coach Butch Jones said.
“The interception toward the end of the game was a great play. He trusted what he saw. He broke and drove on the football. … He kept his feet in and completed the catch.”
Foreman’s euphoria didn’t last 75 seconds, though, as Eason got payback with a rifle 49-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds remaining to give UGA a 31-28 lead.
Foreman was toasted by freshman receiver Riley Ridley, running stride for stride with the wideout before getting duped into slowing down for some inexplicable reason.
The senior went from hero to goat to fortunate bystander in a matter of seconds, as Foreman was bailed out by Josh Dobbs’ 43-yard Hail Mary.
With Cam Sutton sidelined and Martin’s availability for Saturday’s game at Texas A&M up in the air, Tennessee needs Foreman to “show more consistency” against the Aggies impressive receiver unit.
“Malik’s big thing is just a high level of consistency,” Jones said.
“He has to bring it everyday. We asked a lot of him going from nickel to corner, and I thought he did a really good job. But now we need more consistency with everything he’d doing. He’s one of those individuals that everything you say to him he takes to heart.”