Anterio Thompson steps up on special teams in Iowa’s 41-10 win over Western Michigan

Published: Sep. 17, 2023 at 11:01 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa football program has emphasized the importance of special teams and continues to put the right pieces in place to make the unit perform at a high level.

Before arriving to Iowa, sophomore Anterio Thompson had not played a snap on special teams. On Saturday, the Dubuque native blocked a punt for a safety in their 41-10 victory over Western Michigan.

Thompson got his hand on the Bronco punt midway through the third quarter that bounced into the back of the end zone for a safety. Iowa took a 16-10 lead at that point. Thompson said he had been practicing blocking punts and not hitting the kicker.

“I’d just seen me and him. It was kind of in slow motion like the movies,” Thompson described about the moment. “I knew the first one I missed, it was close. I knew I was going to get it the second time. I knew when the opportunity came back up I was going to make that play,” he added.

“Really athletic guy. Obviously coach LeVar Woods trusts him to put him in that situation,” senior linebacker Jay Higgins said about Thompson. “Any time you’re around the kicker, you’ve got to have a lot of trust because that could be a game changer if you hit him. He missed the first one and he came off the sideline and he was upset. It was just good to see him bounce back and get the next one.”

Head coach Kirk Ferentz said Thompson has the heaviest hands out of anyone he’s been around.

He’s a transfer from Iowa Western Community College where he won a NJCAA Division I national title. Thompson struggled in school growing up, but knew he had to take it seriously to play at the Division I level.

“If you want to play football, school is a major part. I knew I had to take school seriously. I knew I had to leave the bad habits out and just lock in. I knew I had the talent and ability to go to this level, but I just needed to get my mind right in school,” Thompson said.