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Punting is Winning: Row the Boat

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A subpar week, but not without highlights

Indiana v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Minnesota got their boat rowed this week. All too happy to remind them of that was Blake Hayes. Hayes is not getting an award this week, but I would be remiss if I did not share this stunner of a punt with you:

And then the cherry on top:

*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 related article.

Punter of the Week

Though it didn’t get a win, the performance of the week belongs to the Minnesota Gophers’ Mark Crawford. Crawford punted four times for a 44.8 yard net average, landed three inside the 20, had a long of 55 yards, and had the only 40+ PISS of the week at 40.967, which propelled him into third place on the year (from sixth) with a 39.069 season total. It’s Crawford’s second PotW award this season.

First honorable mention goes to Ohio State’s Jesse Mirco, who punted four times for a 40 yard average, landing three inside the 20 and one inside the 5. His long was 49, and his PISS was 39.115. The second goes to someone who has not had a good year, but whose 36.079 PISS was just enough to get him out of the basement for season totals. The Indiana Hoosiers’ James Evans had eight punts for a 39.6 yard average, landing three inside the 20 and one inside the 5, with no touchbacks and a long of 58 yards. This raised his season average to 32.704, allowing him to jump Jack Ansell for 13th place in the conference. Congrats, Evans. I really do mean it. He also out-performed Jordan Stout on the day, though that had more to do with Stout’s 31.585 PISS.

Look at that punt. Really beauty, innit? Scores as a 70.791 PISS. Doesn’t count. That flag was for tripping, and it moved the Spartans back five yards. The re-kick was a lot shorter, and gave up a return. The difference was 48 yards in field positioning, and 51 points in PISS. Just killer. Purdue would use their advantageous field position to put six more on the board in just four plays.

Kicker of the Week

I hate giving awards to Ohio State guys. And yet, it seems like I do it every damn week. Congrats Noah Ruggles. Ruggles had two extra points, four field goals, the only two from 40+ in the LEAGUE yesterday, and 14 of Ohio State’s 26 points. That’s pretty good.

As a league, the Big Ten went 29/31 on extra points and 18/22 on field goals. Stout, Fineran, Ruggles, Moody, and Shudak all were perfect with at least one field goal and extra point attempt. There’s not much to talk about this week. The Nebraska Cornhuskers did Nebraska things, missing two field goals in a close game, but I think we’ve beat that horse to death. I’m gonna go ahead and guess that if Frost gets another year (and he won’t), he brings in a real special teams coach.

Returner of the Week

Man, do I really have to give this to someone? Oh, I don’t? This is my column, and I can do what I want? Thanks, voice in my head that I’m lending authority to. The league had 20 kick returns for 287 yards, which is bad, and 19 punt returns for 129 yards, which is also bad. There were a couple impressive individual returns, but no one made a day of it. Except maybe Smith-Njigba, but I suspect he’s gonna get a different award this week and I already complimented Ohio State, so screw it.

There was this, though. Looks like the gunners committed to the return too quickly and Taylor didn’t catch the ball cleanly. Northwestern would get just three off the incredible field position.

I think that’s all I got this week, folks. It was a down week for special teams. Wind played a factor, at least in Evanston, but wind doesn’t make you miss two extra points. Let me know if I missed anything. Wanna see Blake Hayes break an oar again?