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TOP > Game Report > Interception return carries Fujitsu’s Nixon back to days as running back

Game Report

Interception return carries Fujitsu’s Nixon back to days as running back

’17.12.24

Fujitsu linebacker Trashaun Nixon takes off on a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Japan X Bowl against IBM. (photo by MI Planning)

 

 

 

Interception return carries Fujitsu’s Nixon back to days as running back

By Ken Marantz

 

TOKYO (Dec. 18)—After Fujitsu linebacker Trashaun Nixon latched onto the ball for an interception, a great transformation took place.

 

“I saw the ball coming, and I used to play running back, so when I got the ball, I was like, ‘It’s time to go,’” Nixon said of his dazzling 60-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Frontiers’ 63-23 rout of the IBM BigBlue in the Japan X Bowl on Monday night.

 

Nixon, an All X-League selection in both of his two seasons in Japan, has made a name for himself in the league with his predatory quickness that allows him to come out of nowhere to track down ball carriers.

 

In the second quarter with Fujitsu holding a 21-10 lead, a hurried pass from IBM quarterback Yuki Masamoto came his way, giving him a chance to show skeptical teammates what he could do when he was in possession of the ball.

 

“I always tell my teammates that I used to play running back, but they don’t believe me,” Nixon said. “It was time to show it.”

 

On the play, Masamoto, used in certain situations in place of starter Kevin Craft, was under heavy pressure from blitzing linebacker Shuhei Takuchi when he tried to dump a pass over the middle to running back Tomokazu Sueyoshi.

 

But the pass was short and Nixon was there to make the catch. He then put on an exhibition of open-field running that would have made Barry Sanders proud, deking and twisting his way down field and into the end zone.

 

Nixon said he played running back while at Hueneme (Calif.) High School and Ventura Junior College. He became a full-time linebacker after transferring to New Mexico State University, where he recorded 189 tackles and five sacks over two seasons.

 

Last season, Nixon gave a showing of his breakaway speed when he returned a fumble—that he himself had forced—41 yards for a touchdown with three minutes left in the game to give the Frontiers a 20-13 victory over the Panasonic Impulse.

 

“My first position is running back, so it felt good to have the ball,” Nixon said. “But I’m just happy to win.”

 

 

 

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