Jarryd Hayne made a horror start to his NFL debut, but he bounced back after dropping his first punt to help the San Francisco 49ers to a 20-3 win against the Minnesota Vikings.
With veteran running back Reggie Bush injuring his left leg in the first quarter, Hayne came in and ran the ball twice for four yards as well as catching a pass for seven yards in the first half.
Hayne was furious when he spilled his first punt and the Vikings siezed the ball.
After replacing Bush, Hayne became the number two option behind star running back Carlos Hyde and showed safe hands and powerful running.
Hyde, Hayne’s room-mate during training camp, was the player of the game and scored two touchdowns – his first with a brilliant spin – to carry the 49ers to victory.
The game, at San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium, was in the plum Monday Night Football slot.
The 49ers confirmed Hayne would be handed his first appearance when the team sheet was released at 10:50am AEST time, 90 minutes before kick-off.
“The Hayne Plane is all set for takeoff” trumpeted the statement on the San Francisco 49ers website.
In four pre-season games, Hayne led the 49ers with 175 rushing yards and averaged 18.1 yards per punt return on nine attempts.
Earlier this week, 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said Hayne’s hopes would boil down to the 27-year-old rookie’s versatility.
“Very confident in his ability to field a punt, but again, how much else can you do?” said Tomsula.
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) September 15, 2015
– with AAP