South Carolina football: Hayden Hurst has big day for Atlanta

Hayden Hurst #81 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Hayden Hurst #81 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Former South Carolina football player Hayden Hurst showed out in Atlanta’s week two matchup.

In a crazy game that saw the Falcons blow a 15-point lead in the final five minutes, Atlanta had at least one bright spot from a new face on the offensive side of the ball. Former South Carolina standout Hayden Hurst had the best game of his young career in a Falcon jersey.

The tight end finished second on the team in receiving, hauling in five of his eight targets for a total of 72 yards. He averaged more than 14 yards a reception, including a 42-yard touchdown catch early in the first half. The touchdown was Hurst’s first as a Falcon.

Hurst’s big game helped the Falcons jump out to a 20-0 first half lead. Unfortunately, Atlanta couldn’t hold on to that lead, as the Cowboys scored 16 points over the game’s final minutes to escape with a 40-39 win in Dallas. Kicker Greg Zuerlein booted a 46-yard field goal as time expired.

Hurst signed with Atlanta earlier this offseason, inking a four-year, $11 million deal in March. He was brought in to replace Austin Hooper, who is now with Cleveland. The Falcons gave up a second and fifth round pick in next year’s draft to acquire Hurst from Baltimore.

Hurst should become more and more prevalent in his new offense as the season trucks on. As he and quarterback Matt Ryan continue to build chemistry, Hurst’s production will grow. We can expect more outings like this from the third-year player, as he’s got the potential to become one of the league’s best players at his respective position.

Through two games, Hurst has posted eight catches totaling 110 yards. The former first-round pick will look to help Atlanta get into the win column next week when the Falcons take on the Chicago Bears.

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