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Football Position Recap: Special Teams

Kicking footballs and stuff

Chris Francis (#41) of Iowa State ensures every Iowa State game kicks off with the right foot.
Jared Larson-Wide Right & Natty Lite

When it comes to Iowa State’s special teams position group, some familiar names are leaving, and some good names are coming in to take their spot. There will be some unknowns by the time Spring Ball rolls around, but that always is the case with any position group.

Season Recap

Garrett Owens, the graduate transfer from Oregon State, may not have been the biggest Cyclone (in both size and importance) to hearts across Cyclone Nation when Matt Campbell introduced him on February 1st at the annual CYNing Day in 2017, but it would be unfair to say he wouldn’t change that as the season went on. His spring game performance (2/2 XP & 1/1 FG (42 yards) was upstaged by his holder, Kyle Starcevich, proposing to his girlfriend, Tori Monroe.

AP

Speaking of Spring Game performances, Connor Assalley hit a 45 yard field goal at the end of the scrimmage.


Abbreviated Game Performances

Against Northern Iowa, 3 of 5 Owens kickoffs were touchbacks, 3/5 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and longer than 50 yards (longest was 55), and Owens went 6/6 on PATs.

Jared Larson-Wide Right & Natty Lite

Against Team Out East, 1 of 2 Owens kickoffs went out of bounds, 1/5 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks, 3/5 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and one was longer than 50 yards (longest was 61), and Owens went 5/5 on PATs and 2/2 on FGs.

Against Akron, 7 of 8 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks, 0/3 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 46 yards, and Owens went 5/5 on PATs and 2/3 on FGs.

Against Texas, 1 of 2 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks, 5/7 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 42 yards, and Owens went 1/1 on PATs.

Against Oklahoma, 5 of 8 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks, 0/2 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 50 yards, and Owens went 3/3 on PATs and 3/3 on FGs.

Against Kansas, 8 of 8 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks, 4/9 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 56 yards, and Owens went 6/6 on PATs and 1/2 on FGs. Also against Kansas, we have our #1 Special Teams play. Conveniently, this is also the halfway point of the season.


Highlight of the Season


Against Texas Tech, 5 of 6 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks (the other was out of bounds), 0/4 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 52 yards, and Owens went 4/4 on PATs and 1/2 on FGs.

Against TCU, 0 of 3 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks (Turpin returned one for TCU’s only score), 1/8 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 49 yards, and Owens went 2/2 on PATs and 0/1 on FGs.

Against West Virginia, 2 of 5 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks (one was out of bounds), 2/4 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 51 yards, and Owens went 1/1 on PATs and 3/3 on FGs.

Against Oklahoma State, 4 of 7 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks, 1/7 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 49 yards, and Owens went 6/6 on PATs and 3/3 on FGs.

Against Baylor, 4 of 6 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks, 1/4 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 41 yards, and Owens went 2/2 on PATs and 3/3 on FGs.

Against Kansas State, 1 of 5 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks, 2/4 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 43 yards, and Owens went 1/1 on PATs and 2/2 on FGs.

Against Memphis, 0 of 4 Francis kickoffs were touchbacks, 1/4 Downing punts were downed inside the 20 and the longest was 52 yards, and Owens went 3/3 on PATs and 0/1 on FGs.


Grade: A-

Position Group MVP(s): Quinn Sonntag, Kyle Starcevich, and Garrett Owens

The trio of Sonntag(60), Starcevich(16), and Owens(17) went 45/45 on PATs this season and 17/22 on field goals.

Honorable Mention: Steve Wirtel who was the third best overall long snapper in the country.


Who’s Leaving? Who’s Coming?

Corey Dunn (#1 JuCo punter) is taking the place of Colin Downing. Dunn will be the fourth Cyclone punter in a row to wear the number 13.

Garrett Owens is leaving, and a very good Brayden Narveson is already on campus.

Chris Francis will be back for his Senior year.

Kyle Starcevich is leaving and I’m not really sure who will fill that gap. Maybe it’ll be me. Who knows?