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Punting is Winning: It’s Tory Taylor, Of Course

Iowa’s big win was fueled by special teams, but all punters had strong showings this week

Iowa v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Oh captain, my captain. I don’t need some advanced stats made up by nerds with too much time on their hands to tell me who the best punter was this week. The Iowa Hawkeyes used defense and special teams to pick apart Penn State in the second half, and Tory Taylor was arguably the single biggest piece in that effort.

Punter of the Week

The Aussie-born Taylor had nine punts for a 42.1 net yard average, putting six inside the 20 and three inside the 5. He had one touchback, and had his second-best P.I.S.S.* of the season with a 43.230. His fourth quarter punts were downed at the one, eight, and eight, and that field positioning win gave Iowa a 10-0 margin in the final frame.

*For those not in the know, the Punting Index System Score is a metric developed by OTE commenter Ardichoke to quantify greatness in punting. There are multiple systems to rate quarterbacks; we’ve developed a system to rate the most important position. Across FBS football, the average PISS hovers around 35. For more information including the formula, read the linked article

Pat McAfee agrees.

There’s also this insane stat, if you doubt how much Punting is Winning for the Hawkeyes:

Four other punters had a PISS of 40+, with Michigan’s Brad Robbins leading the way. Robbins had a 45.970, kicking four punts an average of 50.75 net yards and landing three inside the 20. Korsak was the next best, scoring a 45.390 over seven punts, putting six inside the 20 and getting his fifth of the year downed inside the five. Penn State’s Jordan Stout also had himself a day opposite Taylor, getting five punts for a 51.4 yard average, landing two inside the 20 and scoring a 41.758. Wisconsin’s Andy Vujnovich only had one punt, but it was a 60-yarder which received a 47.571 score. Wisconsin punted again towards the end of their alleged game with Illinois, but it was the backup punter who took it, for some reason. I didn’t watch that game, and neither did you. Graham Mertz also had a good arm punt, throwing a pick from the Illinois 40 to the Illini 3 on third down. It scored a 44.869 PISS.


Who’s the better Wisconsin punter?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Andy Vujnovich
    (9 votes)
  • 92%
    Graham Mertz
    (118 votes)
127 votes total Vote Now

Kicker of the Week

I could totally give this to Iowa too, but I suppose I should share the love a little. Of the ten kickers to suit up this week, nine attempted at least an extra point, and eight had perfect days. However, only three kicks were made from beyond 40 yards, and none from 50+. In fact, out kicker of the week had a long of 39, but went 4/4 on field goals and added two extra points. Michigan’s Jake Moody knocked in the tying field goal with 3:00 on the clock, then a go-ahead field goal with 1:24 left, and the Wolverines held on to win in Lincoln. It might not have been flashy, but he had 14 of their 32 total points and was a sure thing all day.

Iowa’s Caleb Shudak was one of the three kickers to hit from 40+, etching a long of 48 among his three made field goals, and totaling 11 of Iowa’s 23 points. His opposite, Jordan Stout, also made one from 40+, striking true from 44. He added another and two extra points, scoring 8 of Penn State’s 20 points. Maryland’s Joseph Petrino is the remaining lead-footer, hitting from 48 yards and adding two extra points for 5 of Maryland’s 17 points. If he’d hit 17 more field goals, Maryland would’ve beaten Ohio State.

Michigan State was the only team to miss a field goal, with Coghlin’s 35-yard attempt to end the first half getting partially blocked and going wide left. They also opted for a fake on the opening drive of the game, running punter Bryce Baringer on a naked bootleg run instead of taking the points from 43 yards out.

Returner of the Week

Pretty quiet week for returners. Back-to-back defending returner of the week Jayden Reed was opposite my bestie Adam Korsak, and Korsak allowed just 17 yards on two attempted returns on seven punts. Instead, the award kind of has to go to Ohio State. Kick returner Emeka Egbuka took out all four Maryland kickoffs, totaling 166 yards for a 41.5 yard average, and took one 67 yards to the Maryland 29, setting up a two-play touchdown drive. Garrett Wilson fielded three of five Maryland punts, getting a 12-yard average and a 23-yard long. That set up a three-play touchdown drive, but that was probably more the Ohio State offense than Wilson.

Returners attempted 14 kick returns for 373 yards this week. Take out Egbuka, and that’s a 20.7 yard average. They fielded 12 punts for 49 yards, and minus Wilson, that’s less than a yard-and-a-half per return.