As most ACL tears go a player is out for up to a year, but Payne returned to action a mere 42 days later and played against the Army Black Knights. Not only did Payne play against Army he had eight tackles and was a key player in stopping Army's offense in the second half.
Payne discussed how he was able to play with a blown out knee:
Payne said the other leg muscles compensate for the missing ligament. He also wears a brace.
"I feel 100 percent, it feels normal, like a normal knee," Payne said.
He was worried he would miss the entire season, but the training staff told him he could come back, so that kept his spirits up.
"My goal all along was to get back for Army week," Payne said. "I was focused on that and was able to achieve my goal. Keeping my eye on the prize helped me get through every day of rehab."
Payne is expected to finish out the season with the injury, and judging from his performance on Saturday he will be just fine.