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Punting is Winning: Returners Clap Back

Is a good returner as important as a good punter?

Syndication: The Record Chris Pedota, via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Alright, it’s good to be back in the Hawkeye state, and it’s good to having this column back in its proper form. As promised, we have gifs (lots), tweets, and polls, in that order, as well as the usual amount of PISS. Sorry if this many gifs makes the article a little hard to load, but it seems all the tweeters and youtube highlights pages don’t like punting as much as they should.

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

Punter of the Week

Why, it’s Adam Korsak! With six punts, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights punter had a 47-yard net punt average, putting four inside the 20 and two inside the 5. His 44.210 PISS raised his season average to 43.040, but was just his fifth highest score of the year. The punt below recorded a 60.431, his sixth punt of the year to score above 60. Adam Korsak is good.

Adam Korsak doesn’t need gunners
Big Ten Network

First honorable mention goes to Jordan Stout, of the Penn State Nittany Lions, who had four punts with a 49.5 yard net average, one inside the 20, and a 40.308 PISS. He was fairly consistent, with a long of 55 yards (twice) and a shortest punt of 40, a lowest PISS of 33 and a highest of 46. Stout’s average went down thanks to this performance, which is a testament to his season thus far, and now rests at 41.585.

The second honorable mention goes to the Iowa Hawkeyes’ Tory Taylor, who had seven punts with a 44.1 net yard average and a 39.344 PISS. He had one touchback, three inside the 20, and the absolute beauty below. His season average dipped below 40 to 39.917, third-best in the league.

Returner of the Week

Nothing neutralizes a good punter like a great returner. Last week, I called out returners, saying only Ohio State should be trying kick returns. This week, the league saw 18 attempts for a 19 yard average outside of Ohio State (who actually didn’t have any), a whole four yards better than last week. Iowa returners totaled 98 yards on four returns, with Charlie Jones starting the game off with the league’s long for the week of 44 yards. Michigan’s Blake Corum had 38 yards on two efforts, as did Nebraska’s Johnson, and Maryland’s Jarrett had a single try for 27 yards.

But I’m here to talk about punting, and punt returning. Michigan’s AJ Henning had 58 yards on three tries, good for a 19-yard average. Those 58 yards took more than eleven yards off of the lead-footed Bryce Baringer’s gross punt yard average. That is just indescribably important. Michigan, of course, didn’t do enough off of that, losing to the Spartans 37-33, but his returns left the offense with an average starting field position of their 41-yard line. Those three drives’ results were touchdown, fumble, pick.

Speaking of offenses spoiling gifts, Charlie Jones averaged nearly 10 yards/return on four tries for the Hawkeyes, giving them an average starting field position of their 36-yard line. The one time someone else went deep for Iowa, he muffed the punt and the Wisconsin Badgers got a field goal out of it.

In a bit of a weird moment, the second honorable mention goes to someone who didn’t attempt a return. The ever-dangerous Jahan Dotson had 0 returns for 0 yards against Ohio State. What’s so special about that? He fair caught three punts by Jesse Mirco, all from the right side of the 50, all with excellent punt coverage (and all at the 11-yard line, weirdly). And they all looked a little something like the clip below. Dotson probably saved eight or nine yards per punt with his efforts, and kept a very good punter to a 34.570 PISS on the day, lowering Mirco’s season score a full point.

Indiana’s punt defense all gets a shoutout for this play:

Their offense would go three and out and miss a field goal.


What’s more important?

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    A good punter
    (98 votes)
  • 2%
    A good returner
    (2 votes)
100 votes total Vote Now

Kicker of the Week

Another mundane week for kickers. Just three kicks were made from beyond 40 yards, and each of those came from a kicker who missed another kick on the day. Michigan’s Moody, Ohio State’s Ruggles, Nebraska’s Contreraz (kicker change!), Minnesota’s Trickett, and Wisconsin’s Larsh were all perfect with at least one field goal. And nobody missed an extra point this week!

You’ll notice that two of those five lost, and the three that won all did so by plenty, so this award is a little boring this week. I’m going to give it to Ruggles, who hit three extra points and four field goals to account for 15 of the 33 points scored by the Buckeyes, which was more than the margin of victory. Michigan’s Moody had the same scoreline in a loss, but you can’t make more than they let you try, so we won’t hold him responsible for that.

Maryland’s Petrino and Penn State’s Jordan Stout both hit from the 40-49 range, and Indiana’s Charles Campbell hit from 55 yards to set the weekly long.

Here’s your PISS! There’s been a few changes. I messed up Stout’s season average last week, so it looks like it’s gone up this week but as noted above, that’s not the case. Colton Spangler replaced Anthony Pecorella for Maryland because he took the majority of reps this week, though Pecorella still has two more tries on the year. I also sorted out their numbers, as I had jumbled them the last few weeks.