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Former UNLV great Ickey Woods honored at Arkansas State game

Running back Ickey Woods, known at least as much for his dance moves as his ability as a running back, was honored by UNLV on Saturday night.

The former Rebels great signed autographs before UNLV’s game against Arkansas State at Sam Boyd Stadium and took part in the pregame coin toss.

“I haven’t followed them close in a few years, but they seem to be getting back on track now,” Woods said before kickoff. “It was a real disappointment when they lost to Howard (in 2017). I got ridden on that one quite a bit from my guys. They called it a Division II school. It was rough, but it’s good to come back and see life back into the organization, and then next year they’ll get to the play in the Raiders’ stadium, so that’ll be a big plus for them.”

Woods rushed for 1,658 yards in 1987, the second-best season in UNLV history. Mike Thomas, who rushed for 1,741 yards in 1973, holds the record.

The Cincinnati Bengals selected Woods in the second round of the 1988 NFL draft, No. 31 overall, the highest a UNLV player has been taken.

He became an instant sensation with the “Ickey Shuffle.” Woods rushed for 1,066 yards and 15 touchdowns in 1988 to lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl, doing his dance move on the sideline all season.

Knee injuries, however, sidetracked his career.

Woods, 53, returned to the national spotlight five years ago when he did the “Ickey Shuffle” in a GEICO commercial. After his number is called while waiting at a deli, he goes into the moves and says, “Get some cold cuts, get some cold cuts.”

“It helped us to get to the younger demographic,” Woods said. “The older people knew who I was. Now the younger people get to know about the shuffle, but they don’t know me for the shuffle. They know me for cold cuts.”

Appearing in the commercial also helped bring attention to the foundation Woods’ established in his late son’s name. Jovante Woods died nine years ago at age 16 from an asthma attack.

Anderson makes a surprise return

Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson surprised his players at a team meeting shortly before it boarded the bus to the stadium for Saturday’s game.

Anderson had been on leave since his wife, Wendy, died Aug. 19 after fighting breast cancer for two years. She was 49.

Defensive coordinator David Duggan had been running the team in Anderson’s absence.

Arkansas State players roared when Anderson entered the room and jumped to their feet and hugged him.

More Rebels: Follow at reviewjournal.com/Rebels and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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