Let’s talk about the returners, because talking about punting means I’m gonna put my head through a wall (Hunter Niswander is not very good and is not being challenged in any serious way). Instead, Solomon Vault was a god returning kickoffs (2 TDs, 26.3 avg) and Jack Mitchell’s leg seems to lock on just in time to break yo heart with a game-winning kick (Notre Dame in 2014 and Penn State in 2015, to name a couple) while being aggressively mediocre the rest of the time (66.7%).
In that vein, which kicker from your school--current or otherwise--do you choose with the game on the line?
C4B: For now, I go with Mitch Ewald. Don’t get me wrong, Griffin Oakes is real good, and might just take many of Mitch’s school records away before he’s done, and while former kicker Austin Starr still has perhaps the most important kick in the last decade for the Hoosiers, Ewald is who I turn to for sheer consistency.
Al NamiasIV: Nate Kaeding, every day of the week and twice on Saturday.
Stew: Al is not necessarily wrong to ride with Kaeding. He was a Groza winner (should have won it twice). Daniel Murray probably deserves consideration (hi, PSU). However, I’m going back a bit further. Rob Houghtlin does not buy his own beer in Iowa for good reason. Gimme Rob.
WSR: While we’re in great hands/foot with Ryan Santoso, Chip Lohmiller is my answer because he won the Jug, while Rhys Lloyd only won the Axe and Dan Nystrom won the Governor’s Bowling Trophy.
DJ: I’ll go with Brad Craddock but that’s more out of a lack of choice. Craddock did win the Groza Award in 2014 but regressed a bit to the mean in 2015 while battling some injuries. Craddock had a solid leg out to 50 in 2014 and quite literally kept them in some games.
Jesse: Options, we got em. Kris Brown, Josh Brown, Alex Henery. For what it’s worth, I’ve got to go with Mr Henery. I understand the argument for any of them, but this 57 yard FG to put away Colorado will forever be my favorite kick. It was ridiculous to most everyone watching that he was going to even get it there, and lo and behold, there it was. Not the world’s most important kick, but it was fantastic to watch. He was just a ‘clutch’ player and if I need to turn to someone, he’s my guy.
Townie: I have to go back in time for ours...Robbie Gould was a monster. You might know him as the Chicago Bears’ pro-bowl kicker. Right now Penn State’s kicking game is in flux. We finally have a special teams coach...and our special teams suck.
Ray: It’s all about Jeremy "The Judge" Ito. 2006. Pandemonium in Piscataway. Pretty much anytime I need anything important done, I’ll take that guy.
Aaron: Gould was pretty terrible my freshman year, so I’m going to go with Kevin Kelly, Penn State’s all-time leading scorer and the guy who kicked the Lions to an Orange Bowl victory during the 2005 season. His college career got off to a rough start, but he matured into a very reliable kicker… just like Sam Ficken!