Thompson has inspired performance vs. Wake

Thompson has inspired performance vs. Wake

Published Sep. 15, 2012 5:31 p.m. ET

TALLAHASSEE – A year ago, Florida State tailback Chris Thompson left the game against Wake Forest last October on a cart. He would spend the night in the hospital with two broken vertebrae in his back.

At that moment, he didn't know if he would walk again let alone ever step foot on a field again.

"I was in that hospital bed and so many thoughts were going through my mind," Thompson said. "I didn't know if I wanted to play football again, I didn't know if I was going to play, I didn't know if I was going to be walking straight or anything like that."

Coach Jimbo Fisher came to the hospital and they talked. Fisher was worried and started talking to Thompson about his future.

"I was sitting up there in the hospital bed, watching him last year, he's actually consoling me when I was talking to him," Fisher said. "That everything was going to be all right. He was saying, ‘Coach, I'll be back.' "

Thompson didn't need surgery, rehabilitated with FSU's training staff and was back in August for practice. And he had some good runs in the first two games of the season. But he saved something special for Saturday.

After what was an emotional week, Thompson delivered two breathtaking runs of 74-yard and 80-yard touchdown runs on back-to-back plays in the second quarter of Florida State's 52-0 rout of Wake Forest.

In his third game back for No. 5 FSU (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast conference), Thompson ran for 197 yards on nine carries.

"What a difference a year makes," Fisher said. "It can't happen to a better young man."

The always smiling Thompson was quick to praise his teammates for his long runs, which were boosted by blocks initially from the offensive line and fullback Lonnie Pryor as well as downfield blocks from wide receivers.

"They were giving me all the props for making the touchdowns, but all I had to pretty much do was just run," Thompson said. "I didn't have to make any great cuts. I didn't have to break any tackles, anything. My long runs were pretty much just open field runs. I thank those guys for doing that."

Thompson was awarded the game ball during an emotional postgame celebration in the locker room. It was the shining moment in what has been a long road to what could be one of the best comeback stories in college football in 2012.

He feels like his fight to return to the field for his senior season has also inspired his teammates. He noted that since his back injury, FSU won seven of eight games in 2011 and has won three straight this year.

"For me to come back and to be able to play again, it means a whole lot to me and for this team just knowing the things that I've gone through," Thompson said.