Kick Coverage, Week 3
Despite there some superb kicking performances in Week 3, the one who got the most attention was Tyler Hopkins of Texas Lutheran (DIII):
— TLU Bulldogs (@tluathletics) September 17, 2017
While the play wasn’t explicitly legal, the kick stood (apparently double kicks aren’t reviewable plays, let alone at the DIII level). Expect clarification in the NCAA rulebook to come this offseason—for now, we’ll proactively call it The Hopkins Rule.
My favorite part is that the Belhaven players look so confused by the circumstances of the play, they aren’t sure if protesting is appropriate or not.
Kicker of the Week:
Matt Gay, Utah – 4/4 FG: 21, 56, 50, 20; 6/6 XPs
If there were any lingering doubts about Matt Gay’s ability or range, those were silenced on Saturday. In Utah’s 54-16 win over San Jose State, the former Utah Valley University soccer player hit a 56-yarder from nearly on top of the Utes’ mid-field logo:
The kick was the second-longest in school history (59 yards from a tee, Marv Bateman in 1971) and marks the first time a Utah player has made two 50+ yarders in the same game. It’s also the FBS’ current longest make. Additionally, the senior leads Kicker Nation in points, field goals made (tied), field goal percentage (tied), field goals made from 40+, and field goals made from 50+.
1) Perhaps the only kicker in America right now as hot as Gay (kicking-wise) remains Michigan’s Quinn Nordin. From five field goals and two extra points, Nordin accrued 17 points on Saturday, or nearly 60% of the Wolverines’ offense during their 29-13 win over Air Force. This is hardly an anomaly for the week, as on the season Nordin has accounted for 42 of UM’s 98 points (42.9%). His 11 field goals made are well on pace to shatter the school record of 25, set by Remy Hamilton in 1994. Before the game, he did this too:
— Connor Stalions (@CPStalions) September 17, 2017
2) If this week was supposed to clear up the placekicking situation at Tennesssee, Saturday in the Swamp may have just made things murkier. After going the first two weeks without having to attempt a field goal, head coach Butch Jones tried out both senior Aaron Medley and freshman Brent Cimaglia during the Vols’ heartbreaking loss to Florida. The latter got the call first, making a 51-yarder just before halftime (his first collegiate attempt).
But after missing one from the same distance in the 3rd and one from 47 before that, Medley was called upon for the next two attempts, missing from 44 and making from 27. Based on Jones’ postgame comments, it appears that the two-pronged approach will remain intact for now, with Cimaglia taking the longer attempts and Medley (9/26 from 40+ in his career) taking the chip shots.
3) The effectiveness of icing (kickers, not bros) is oft-debated, but on Saturday it worked for James Franklin and Penn State (nevermind that the Nittany Lions were up 56-0 in the game’s final seconds). After the unconventional timeout, Georgia State’s Brandon Wright missed the 31-yard attempt to preserve the PSU shutout. In Franklin’s defense (sort of), he said his intention wasn’t to try and shake up redshirt sophomore Wright (who was 1/1 on the season up to that point):
Franklin explains why he called a timeout up 56 points. pic.twitter.com/iXgvTTvqIR
— Collegian Football (@psufootblog) September 17, 2017
WFAN’s Mike Francesca didn’t exactly buy it, calling Franklin a ‘horse’s ass’ and ‘absolute disgrace’, among other compliments.
4) Gary Wunderlich was shut down in the second quarter of Ole Miss’ loss at Cal on Saturday and did not return. Other than that the issue was with his hamstring, there’s been no word on the condition of the senior that went 22/23 on FGs last season. Wunderlich and the Rebels will enjoy a bye this coming weekend.
Doink of the Week:
Walk-on and redshirt freshman Michael Schreiner was thrust into UMASS’ placekicking role earlier than expected this year after junior Mike Caggiano and senior (punter) Logan Laurent both accrued injuries. On Friday night, Schreiner missed from 23, 39, and 32 in the Minutemen’s 29-21 loss to Temple. That makes Schreiner 0/4 for field goals on the year, though a small silver lining is that he’s yet to miss a PAT (13/13).
While coach Mark Whipple said he was ‘surprised’ considering how well Schreiner had been performing in practice, others on the team were more outspoken in their support for the Webster, NY native:
“Schreiner will be good, he’s our guy,” senior linebacker Steve Casali said. “The whole team has Schreiner’s back and he’ll be good. Schreiner is one of the mentally toughest kids I’ve met in my life, so he’ll be fine. He’ll bounce back from this, without a doubt.”
Way-Too-Early Groza Predictions:
It’s a two-horse race at this early, early point. Eventually, I’d like to go back and see how the Groza pollsters have voted in extremely tight races (if there have been any). At a glance, the award has gone overwhelmingly to those at Power 5 schools which wouldn’t make a difference in the Gay vs. Nordin battle we have going on. However, just twice has an underclassman won the award (FSU freshman Roberto Aguayo in 2013 and Cincinnati sophomore Jonathan Ruffin in 2000), which is why I shuffled the top two for this week. And as fun everyone’s been having with Nordin’s story, Gay’s is arguably even better.
Third place could be any one of about 6-10 kickers all having equally-successful seasons. While I’d like to see a G5 player represent in December, I imagine in such a close case it would be a more-exposed (TV-wise) kicker that gets the panel’s nod:
- Matt Gay, Utah (11/11 FGs, 2/2 from 50+, 11/11 XPs)
- Quinn Nordin, Michigan (11/13 FGs, 2/3 from 50+, 9/9 XPs)
- Matt Ammendola, Oklahoma State (5/7 FGs, 2/3 from 40+, 21/21 XPs)
Long Ball Leaderboard Through Week 3:
After just three weeks, it now takes a 50+ yarder to crack the longest field goal leaderboard. This week we see a couple of new faces/feet, while the new cutoff leaves just Gay and Nordin (who else?) as the only two to occupy two spots.
Gay’s 56-yarder would have finished as the second-longest make last season.
Rk. Name School Distance Week, Opp.
1 Matt Gay Utah 56 3, San Jose St.
2 Quinn Nordin Michigan 55 1, Florida
3 Greg Joseph Florida Atlantic 54 1, Navy
T4 Matt Ammendola Oklahoma St. 53 2, at So. Alabama
Matthew McCrane Kansas State 53 1, Central Arkansas
Brady Viles UTEP 53 3, Arizona
T7 Aaron Boumheri Temple 52 3, UMASS
Brandon Ruiz Arizona St. 52 1, New Mexico St.
T9 Brent Cimaglia Tennessee 51 3, at Florida
Bryce Crawford San Jose St. 51 3, at Utah
Griffin Oakes Indiana 51 2, at Virginia
T12 Michael Badgley Miami (FL) 50 1, Bethune-Cookman
Daniel Carlson Auburn 50 1, Georgia Southern
Matt Gay Utah 50 3, San Jose St.
Quinn Nordin Michigan 50 1, Florida
Joey Slye Virginia Tech 50 2, Delaware
Luke Strebel Air Force 50 3, at Michigan
Kicker Survivor Leaderboard Through Week 3:
Twenty-four kickers biffed themselves out of Kicker Survivor this weekend by recording their first misses of the season. Remaining with perfect track records on the season is just 34, though nearly half that number only have 1-2 attempts to their name. Like he’s done with his kicking game overall this season, Matt Gay has raised the bar quickly and early, giving himself a comfy lead on the pack even if he were to miss his next attempt.
Eliminated this week (school, streak): John Baron II (SDSU, 6), Josh Williams (SMU, 5), Garrett Owens (Iowa St., 4), Jimmy Camacho (Fresno St., 3), Austin Parker (Duke, 3), Erik Powell (Washington St., 3), Jason Sanders (New Mexico, 3), Drew Brown (Nebraska, 2), Spencer Evans ( Purdue, 2), Trevor Moore (North Texas, 2), Nick Rice (Old Dominion, 2), Luke Strebel (Air Force, 2), Sawyer Williams (Arkansas St., 2), Evan Brown (Coastal Carolina, 2), Will Harrison (Rice, 1), Emilio Nadelman (South Florida, 1), Ryan Nuss (Western Kentucky, 1), Brandon Wright (Georgia St., 1), Aaron Medley (Tennessee, 1), Brent Cimgalia (Tennessee, 1), Chase McGrath (USC, 0), JK Scott (Alabama, 0), Luke Logan (Ole Miss, 0), Parker White (South Carolina, 0).
|6||Wyatt Bryan||Colorado St.|
|6||Sean Nuernberger||Ohio St.|
|6||Colton Lichtenberg||Boston College|
|6||Mike Weaver||Wake Forest|
|4||Haden Hoggarth||Boise St.|
|4||Dominik Eberle||Utah St.|
|4||Samuel Sloman||Miami (OH)|
|4||Michael Rubino||App. State|
|4||Bryce Crawford||San Jose St.|
|3||Jace Christmann||Mississippi St.|
|3||Greg Joseph||Florida Atlantic|
|2||Michael Badgley||Miami (FL)|
|2||Dylan Brown||New Mexico St.|
|1||Michael Barden||Texas Tech|
|1||Craig Ford||La Monroe|
|1||Michael Smith||Utah St.|
Game Winners (Under 1:00 to play) :
Freshman Chase McGrath did this to Texas in overtime (43 yards):
Not bad for your second career attempt.
At about the same time, Louisiana Tech’s Jonathan Barnes registered the season’s third game winner, all but downing Western Kentucky with this 21-yarder that left just :02 on the clock:
An ongoing list of the season’s de facto game winners can be found on the season hub page.