Countdown to College Football Kickoff 2015, Days 31 & 30: Ickey Woods Shufflin’


The college football kickoff countdown has now hit the 30 day mark, and to commemorate days 31 and 30 we’ll shuffle off to UNLV and the great Ickey Woods.

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We couldn’t focus on the ever-popular Ickey Woods without giving him two numbers in our countdown – 30, for the number he wore while at UNLV, and 31, draft pick number in 1988 on his way to fame with the Cincinnati Bengals (as well as his number with Cincinnati, briefly).

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For those who never got to see Ickey run (and dance), you were missing something special. A throwback player who bulled his way through defenders, running recklessly and giving the opposing player nothing but knees and shoulder pads to grasp.

Woods went basically unnoticed during his first three seasons with UNLV, a program that isn’t exactly known as a football powerhouse. Perhaps having Randall Cunningham playing quarterback during his freshman season took away from some of his potential carries.

From 1984-86, Woods only carried the ball 78 times, rushing for a total of 320 yards and six touchdowns. But in his senior season, Woods became the beast we all knew and loved, leading the nation in rushing with 1,658 yards on 259 carries, averaging 6.4 yards per touch.

It was that season which propelled Woods into the spotlight and the eyes of NFL Scouts, and also saw the Rebels take the prized Fremont Cannon back from Nevada after a one year absence on the UNLV campus.

“John Montgomery changed my life,” Woods said of the former UNLV assistant who coached him that year. “He came in and said if I do things his way, I could get to the NFL.

“I had 300 yards in three years. It was my senior year. What did I have to lose?”

Ickey’s famous touchdown dance, the “Ickey Shuffle” may have made him a household name, but it was his magical 1987 season at UNLV that gave him the opportunity to make his dance worthwhile. Woods was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.

It’s unbelievable,” Woods said. “I didn’t even know UNLV had a Hall of Fame and I never expected to be inducted.”

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