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What Punting is Winning looks like

Thanks to... Indiana??

Western Kentucky v Indiana Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

It was not a great week for punters. Or maybe we’ve just been spoiled as of late. Nine of the thirteen primary punters who played lowered their season PISS average, and the four who didn’t averaged just 2.5 punts in their games. While Jesse Mirco of Ohio State lead the league with a 63.831(!), it was just one punt that did it. It was also only his eleventh punt of the year, so it shot his season average up to the top of the board with a 43.334, just above Taylor’s 42.084 average over 23 punts. Jesus Christ, kid.

So, I’m gonna give punter of the week not to the best, or second-best, or even third- or fourth-best score, but to Indiana’s James Evans, as his score was not only a tremendous improvement on his own game, but also an asset to his team in their overtime victory. He punted four times, and in the resulting possessions, Western Kentucky scored just three points. And, in the following Indiana possessions after those punts, Indiana scored 17 points. Obviously that’s not all to the punter’s credit, but it does show that well-executed punting, as a third phase of the game, is winning indeed.

Of course, those other four guys deserve shoutouts as well. Mirco had one really, really good punt (a 59-yarder, downed at the two), Robbins had two for Michigan inside the twenty, Bryce Baringer had one amazing (59-yards to the one), one good, and one bad punt, and Tory Taylor kicked a ball so much he’s getting scouted by professional soccer leagues in eastern Europe.

It wasn’t a great week for the rising stars, as Amor lowered his season average with a mundane 36, Buschimi was hurt on what I think is the worst punt of the year so far (a punt which, after return yardage, netted just 10 yards), and Luke Akers put in his first sub-35 performance in the Wildcats’ loss to FCS Southern Illinois. Nobody had a bigger drop than Minnesota’s Crawford, though, who had just one punt (a net 24-yarder) that, because it was only his third of the year, dropped his season average by nearly six whole points on the PISS scale.

On the kicking side of things, it was a fairly mundane week. Kicker of the Week is a no-brainer, which is good because I’m writing this at 3:30AM for god-knows-why and I don’t want to use my brain (which is fortunately not a requisite for a “writer”). Charles Campbell knocked in four field goal attempts for Indiana, including the 51-yard game winner in overtime. Win a game, win an award, it’s pretty simple. Other top guys include McAtamney of Rutgers, Stevens of Iowa, and Ryland of Maryland, all of whom hit a 40+ yarder and were perfect on the week. Michigan State notably did not attempt a kick in a game where they scored 28 points, which is impressive in the wrong sorts of ways.

I don’t have much else this week, guys. I’m a little surprised Korsak is still starting slow. Vujnovich is well under my expectations. I think Tory Taylor is the runaway September Ray Guy so far. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, as I left a lot unsaid this week. And hey, check out this beautiful pump fake followed by terrible punt.

Also, make sure to watch Iowa-Rutgers this weekend if you really, really love punting and can stomach the “offense” in between.