Senior Day had a little extra meaning for the South Carolina State football team Saturday afternoon.
With 4:34 remaining in the opening quarter against Savannah State, the Bulldogs sent out 55-year-old senior running back Joe Thomas Sr. onto the field for the first time. Thomas then took the handoff and gained three yards in his collegiate debut.
There's no official way of confirming if Thomas is the oldest player to ever appear in a college football game, but many believe it to be true. Thomas enrolled at the university at 51 years old along with his son Joe Thomas Jr. — now a Green Bay Packer — and practiced on and off with the team as a scout player over his four years.
Thomas was then cleared by the NCAA to play two weeks ago and the Bulldogs officially added him to their roster Saturday morning.
55 year old Joe Thomas Sr. >>> Trent Richardson pic.twitter.com/h3MEXu0BsI— Master Pupil (@IfeellikeNuby) November 19, 2016
S.C. State in CFB spotlight today: Joe Thomas Sr., age 55 and No. 42, will play on a very Senior Day @postandcourier pic.twitter.com/rfk6TjVlCy— Gene Sapakoff (@Sapakoff) November 19, 2016
One of these S.C. State senior players is 55 and has a son in the NFL (hint: Joe Thomas Jr. plays for @packers pic.twitter.com/w5n75u9Cqg— Gene Sapakoff (@Sapakoff) November 19, 2016
.@SCStateAthletic RB Joe Thomas Sr. made history today. At age 55, he's the oldest man to ever play in a Division I football game. pic.twitter.com/vQKZ5uU3u5— Mike Gillespie (@MikeABCColumbia) November 19, 2016
55 year old Joe Thomas Sr. becomes the oldest Division I football player. At the half: 1 carry for 3 yards, SCSU leads 26-0@wis10 @espn pic.twitter.com/8eMO0nzuYo— Dustin Martin (@DustinMartin01) November 19, 2016
No way to tell if Joe Thomas Sr., at 55, is the oldest CFB player ever. But 3.0 YPG has to be a record for 50-plus guys on Senior Day— Gene Sapakoff (@Sapakoff) November 19, 2016
BTW, Joe Thomas Sr., who has practiced off-and-on w/ S.C. State over the last 4 years didn't appear on a roster until today @postandcourier— Gene Sapakoff (@Sapakoff) November 19, 2016
Even if Thomas doesn't see another snap Saturday, he's accomplished quite a lot. To read more about Thomas' story, check out Sports Illustrated's feature on him earlier this week.