Escaping to the end zone was special for this Fresno State running back

Fresno State running back Jordan Mims escaped down the sideline for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Colorado State Rams at Bulldog Stadium on Oct. 29, 2020. (Vendila Yang/The Collegian)

During the 2018 season, Tenisha Mims spent a lot of her time glued to her screen, watching highlights of her son, Fresno State running back Jordan Mims, from his first two seasons.

At the time, it was a coping mechanism for her. She always loved watching her son play. From the time he was suiting up for youth football to playing at Menlo-Atherton High School where Mims was an integral part of their Central Coast Section and Regional Championship run.

But this was the first time in his career she was going to have to wait several months to see her son play again.

In late 2018, Mims suffered a foot injury that ended his sophomore season in the regular season finale against San Jose State. His injury was severe enough to sideline him for the rest of the season, causing him to miss the Mountain West Championship and Las Vegas Bowl. 

Heading into next season, Mims suffered another setback. It was announced before the start of the season that he wasn’t ready to step on to the football field.

“I was devastated as much as he was,” Tenisha Mims said. “He’s very passionate about football, so it hurt him dearly that he couldn’t play.”

Jordan Mims said it was tough, but it was just another obstacle he had to overcome.

“I was pretty hurt,” Mims said. “Adversity happens all the time. I just knew I had to focus on rehab and getting my body right.”

The rehabilitation process was tough on Mims. He was consistently doing his best to make a speedy recovery, but watching his teammates play while he was inactive was tough for him. Mins said what kept him going was the support system he had during the recovery process.

Adhir Ravipati, the former head coach at Menlo-Atherton, has always been in Mims’ corner. 

“Your stars shine the brightest when the lights are the brightest,” Ravipati. “He’s a big time player. I have the biggest admiration for him.”

Ravipati saw Mims was doing everything possible to have a strong comeback.

“He was really disappointed at the start,” Ravipati said. “He turned it into motivation. He always wants to come back better than they remembered him. He doesn’t let good things get him way too high, and he doesn’t let bad things get him low.”

In late September, it was announced that Mountain West football would be returning in a condensed, conference-only schedule. The week of Fresno State’s home opener against Hawai’i, first-year Fresno State head coach Kalen Deboer announced that Jordan Mims was ready to play in that game.

Now, Tenisha Mims didn’t have to resort to watching her son’s old footage. 

With Jordan and Tenisha both having a strong mother-son relationship, they talked the night before the game. To Jordan, it felt like it was the first time playing college football again.

“I was soaking in the moment,” Jordan Mims said. “This was real. It felt good to be back on the field.”

Mims made his anticipated return to the field in week one and had a limited performance, with two receptions for 8 yards and two rushing attempts for 15 yards.

Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener hands the ball to running back Jordan Mims (#7) during an offensive play against the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors at Bulldog Stadium on October 24, 2020,. (Vendila Yang/ The Collegian)

But the following game marked a huge milestone for him. He received a pass from quarterback Jake Haener and escaped down the sideline into the end zone for a touchdown. 

It was the first time in 705 days since Mims had last scored. But it was all worth it to him.

“It was special getting back into the end zone,” Mims said. “It felt like it’s been a long time and I couldn’t be happier to have it at Bulldog Stadium.”

His mother said she knew how bad he wanted that touchdown.

“It felt like it was the first one [in his career],” she said. “He wanted that so bad. It meant a lot. I was so happy that he finally got that.”

Mims still has plenty of goals he wants to achieve now that he is active and is a combo with Ronnie Rivers in the backfield.

“Like every year, we want to go to a bowl game and win the Mountain West Championship,” Mims said. “That’s most important to my teammates and me.”

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