Ihedigbo Keys Jets Thanksgiving Win - UMass Athletics

Ihedigbo Keys Jets Thanksgiving Win

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If you were watching the Jets-Bengals game on Thanksgiving night, you saw a pair of UMass grads play with James Ihedigbo making several key plays in the Jets' 26-10 win on the NFL Network. Ihedigbo recovered a muffed punt that led to the winning touchdown. He also had a big block on an 89-yard kickoff return by Brad Smith. Ihedigbo also had a pressure on Carson Palmer.

With the Bengals in his NFL debut, Jeromy Miles made two tackles in the third quarter on special teams.

Check out this story on Ihedigbo in the New York Post.

"Thank God I had the opportunity to make a big play and kind of contribute," Ihedigbo said after the Jets' 26-10 win over the Bengals last night at New Meadowlands Stadium. "Then we get another touchdown out of it. Everything happens for a reason."

Ihedigbo gets redemption with key fumble recovery

Last Updated: 9:37 AM, November 26, 2010

Posted: 3:24 AM, November 26, 2010

James Ihedigbo went from being the goat to one of the Jets' heroes in a little more than three minutes.

The Jets safety's roughing the passer penalty on a key fourth down almost cost his team the lead, but he was let off the hook by a missed field goal and ended up recovering a muffed punt soon after. He also had the key block on Brad Smith's 89-yard kickoff return touchdown.

"Thank God I had the opportunity to make a big play and kind of contribute," Ihedigbo said after the Jets' 26-10 win over the Bengals last night at New Meadowlands Stadium. "Then we get another touchdown out of it. Everything happens for a reason."

On fourth-and-3 for the Bengals with 8:11 left in the third, Carson Palmer's pass to Jordan Shipley was incomplete, but Ihedigbo was flagged for a questionable roughing the passer penalty. Four plays later, Bengals kicker Aaron Pettrey missed a 27-yard field goal that would have tied the game at 10 with 5:09 left in the third.

"They said I led with the crown of my helmet, but we're playing football," Ihedigbo said. "Guys are gonna get hit. . . . I wasn't trying to injure him in any way. That was a clean football play."

The Jets went three-and-out on their next possession, and Steve Weatherford's punt bounced and caromed off of the Bengals' Andre Caldwell, who was blocking for the return. Ihedigo made a made a mad dash for the ball and jumped on it at the Bengals 14. Two plays later, Mark Sanchez found Santonio Holmes for a 13-yard touchdown with 4:14 left in the third that gave the Jets a 17-7 lead.

"As I was running down the field, I saw it bounce off his leg and once it hit his leg, I knew I had to get down the field and jump on it," Ihedigbo said.

After Pettrey's 89-yard field goal cut the lead to 17-10 with 12:18 left, Smith's kickoff return made it a two-possession game again. Ihedigbo, the fourth-year man out of UMass, opened up his path with a picture-perfect block on Leon Hall.

It was the capper to an up and down night for him. But it certainly ended up on the upswing.

"The play happened," Ihedigbo said of the critical roughing the passer penalty. "We fought through it as a team and capitalized on it."


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