College football season is back, and so are eye-opening highlight plays.
Several Week 1 highlights made their way around the Twitter airwaves, and it’s hard to find a rarer or more impressive play than Cody Thompson’s punt block/return.
Toledo defeated the VMI Cadets 66-3, but the Rockets first score of the afternoon occurred on a wild special teams sequence. With VMI backed up against its own end zone on 4th-and-14, the senior wide receiver stormed into the backfield, unblocked.
Before the punt could hit the tip of Reed King’s toe, No. 25 already returned it to the house for six. That’s right, Thompson snatched the ball from King with his momentum flinging him into the end zone less than a split second later. Officially, it was recorded as a blocked punt and a 3-yard punt return touchdown for Thompson.
Thompson suffered a season-ending leg injury last fall but decided to finish out his senior campaign at Toledo in 2018. He finished Saturday at the Glass Bowl with three receptions, 68 yards, and two touchdowns — one long receiving touchdown and the special teams gem shown above.
If this unusual play looks familiar, Bowling Green recorded a similar feat in 2013 against Indiana. However, the Falcons’ touchdown wasn’t scored in the blink of an eye as Thompson’s was, so the play had a bit more time to unfold.
One of the more heartwarming moments in the conference, and for all of the college football world, was the return of Kent State wide receiver Antwan Dixon. Dixon had not stepped on a football field in three years due to a battle with aplastic anemia. A freshman in 2015, Dixon led the Golden Flashes in receiving yards before undergoing a bone marrow transplant. Three years later, his grand entrance was one to remember, as he scored the first touchdown of the Kent State football season on a 24-yard pass from Woody Barrett.
Dixon finished the contest against Illinois with three catches and 48 yards. Welcome back, Antwan!