Turpin has kickoff, punt return TDs; Cowboys beat Chargers

Aug 20, 2022, 10:03 AM | Updated: 11:27 pm

Dallas Cowboys' KaVontae Turpin celebrates as he returns a punt for a touchdown during the first ha...

Dallas Cowboys' KaVontae Turpin celebrates as he returns a punt for a touchdown during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — KaVontae Turpin is making the most of his first chance to make a National Football League roster.

The Dallas wide receiver became the first player in nine seasons to have kickoff and punt return touchdowns in the same game, leading the Cowboys to a 32-18 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night.

“My body’s still wild, but I’m still here trying to focus. I got this big opportunity, so I can’t really complain about it. I work through it,” Turpin said.

Turpin signed with the Cowboys on July 28 after garnering MVP honors in the United States Football League this past spring. Before Turpin, the last player to run back a punt and kickoff in the same game — preseason, regular season or playoffs — was Detroit’s Jeremy Ross on Dec. 8, 2013, against Philadelphia.

Coach Mike McCarthy said he has been impressed with Turpin since he has been in camp.

“Obviously, he had a very successful run there with the USFL, but really from the first day of practice, I mean, he came in and I was really impressed with the way he picked up the receiver play and the language,” McCarthy said. “But you can see he’s dynamic in the return game. Two excellent big plays set the tempo.”

Turpin had six special teams touchdowns during his collegiate career at TCU, but he was dismissed in 2018 when he was accused of assaulting his girlfriend. He was initially suspended but then kicked off the team because the school was unaware of a previous assault case in New Mexico. Turpin pleaded guilty in the Texas case with a chance to clear the conviction from his record and attended an abuse intervention program.

After going undrafted in 2019, Turpin played in the indoor Fan-Controlled Football League, the Spring League and the European League of Football for three years before signing with the USFL. As a member of the New Jersey Generals, he led the league in receiving yards and had the lone punt return for a TD.

“It’s been a crazy year, you know. I’ve been playing football all year round, so I haven’t got a chance to get my body back,” Turpin said. “I’m just happy for this opportunity the Cowboys gave me after the USFL to come out here and show everybody what I can do, prove to myself I belong in this league.”

After a 22-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins gave the Chargers a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter, Turpin returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.

Turpin got a nice wall of blockers in the middle of the field before getting into open space near the 40 and going untouched up the right sideline.

Dallas had a 29-10 lead at halftime after a pair of touchdowns in the final minute of the second quarter. That included Turpin’s 86-yard punt return, where he eluded a tackle attempt from punt gunner Deane Leonard after fielding the ball, did a couple juke moves and then broke free for the score.

After two days of joint practices earlier in the week, both teams rested most of their starters. Dallas improved to 1-1 while the Chargers are 0-2.

Cooper Rush and Will Grier each directed first-half TD drives for the Cowboys, while Rico Dowdle and Malik Davis each had rushing scores. Dowdle finished as the game’s leading rusher with 44 yards on 13 carries.

Easton Stick played the first half for the Chargers and connected with Joshua Palmer on a wide receiver screen for an 18-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to give the Chargers a short-lived 10-7 advantage. Palmer finished with three receptions for 75 yards.

“It was a really poor first half for us, about as poorly as you can play, and that really put us behind, overall,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “I didn’t like the way that that first half felt or looked. It was really in all three phases. When you have two turnovers and you give up two special teams touchdowns, that’s the way the score is going to look.”


Chargers’ wide receiver Michael Bandy had eight catches for 69 yards, including a 1-yard TD late in the fourth quarter.


Chargers: RB Isaiah Spiller suffered an ankle injury during the second half and did not return.


Cowboys: Finish the preseason at home against Seattle on Friday.

Chargers: Travel to New Orleans for their preseason finale on Friday.


More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Turpin has kickoff, punt return TDs; Cowboys beat Chargers