The Third Phase: A Closer Look At The Finalists

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Just like that, it’s another Monday, which means we’re ready for another edition of The Third Phase. You’re all here because I presume you want to read about punting after eating all of that fancy Thanksgiving food. You can look at previous editions here.

Why Should [Finalist Here] Win The Ray Guy Award?

Last week, we talked briefly about the Ray Guy Finalists. For this week, we’ll talk about the candidates a little bit more. We have three finalists, so let’s talk about why each one should win the Ray Guy Award.

Mitch Wishnowsky- Utah

It makes perfect sense to award Mitch Wishnowsky the Ray Guy Award recipient. He won it last year. In fact, Utah has won the award for three straight years. One more win for Wishnowsky turns Utah into a powerful punting program. That’s right, they’ll be a PPP. I have no clue if that exists but who cares!

This season, Wishnowsky has punted the ball 46 times, averaging 44.2 yards per boot. He’s booted the ball 16 times inside the 20. Of his 46 punts, 11 of them have gone 50 yards or longer. Wishnowsky’s longest punt this season went 60 yards.

He’s had a couple of strong performances throughout the season. Against USC, Wishnowsky punted the ball six times, getting it inside the 20 three times and booting it longer than 50 twice.

When he played Oregon, Wishnowsky punted the ball three times, getting it inside the 20 all three times with two fair catches.

If you need more convincing, Wishnowsky has punted the ball for a touchback just three times this season, including Saturday night against Colorado.

Michael Dickson- Texas

Dickson received runner-up honors last season. He has a very good chance of winning the Ray Guy Award this season. I think he should win it. He’s been the best punter of the year.

This year has been a career year for Dickson. He has career-high numbers in punts inside the 20 with 32 and 50-yard punts 34. His 48.4 yards per punt is not just a career-high, but it leads the nation.

Dickson has put together some incredible punting performances, even if his team can’t help him by, you know, winning.

Take Friday night, for example. Dickson put on an incredible punting performance. Of his nine punts in the game, seven landed inside the 20. SEVEN! Five of his punts went 50 or longer. Even with all of his work, Texas still lost 27-23.

Look at the Oklahoma State game. He punted the ball 11 times, putting it inside the 20 five times and booting it 50 yards or longer six times. Unfortunately for Texas, they lost 13-10 in overtime. Dickson was so good that day that Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy praised him.

Dickson keeps Texas in football games. If you don’t go for the stats, then keep in mind that Dickson keeps his team in the game. He’s done it all season. Texas might be 6-6, but I don’t think they’d be better without him. They might not be bowl eligible without him.

Consider the Iowa State game, if you will. He punted the ball seven times in that game, getting it inside the 20 four times. Texas won that game 17-7.

Dickson has won Punter of the Week honors from the Ray Guy Award committee twice this season.

JK Scott- Alabama

JK Scott has been a reliable punter for the Alabama Crimson Tide this season. Of course, they haven’t needed his services all that much.

When Alabama started blowing out opponents, they wouldn’t need him too much. Scott would maybe punt two or three times in each of those games.

Scott’s best performance of the season came against LSU. Of his eight punts against the Tigers, six landed inside the 20. He also had five punts travel 50 or longer.

On Saturday against Auburn, Scott punted the ball four times, with one punt inside the 20 and another going 50 or more yards.

If you need more convincing, then just watch Scott take on a Rubik’s Cube. I realize some might find this trivial, but hey it can make a difference.

The award will be announced in a couple of weeks. I’m sure there will be PLENTY of debate on this topic.

Third Phase Award Finalists

Yes, we do have a Third Phase Punter of the Year Award. It’s a great award and it took me all of three seconds to think up the name. I don’t have a trophy or medal or anything for it, though. Those things cost money, after all. I don’t think I have Microsoft Publisher on my computer.

Anyway, these are the finalists that I have picked. I’ll announce the winner next week.

  • Michael Dickson- Texas
  • Johnny Townsend- Florida
  • Corey Bojorquez- New Mexico
  • Mitch Wishnowsky- Utah
  • Corliss Waitman- South Alabama

These are the five finalists. I’ll announce the winner next week.

When It All Goes Wrong

You’ve seen the Western Kentucky (fake) punt play, I’ve seen the play, we’ve all seen it. There’s no getting around it. This is painful to watch.

Yet, it’s very hypnotic. I can’t stop watching this. I’ve watched this at least 50 times since it occurred Friday night. It can have that kind of effect.

Why am I watching this!?

That wasn’t the only punting-related miscue to happen on Friday.

When It All Goes Wrong Part 2

Colten Rastetter has become sort of a punching bag for frustrated Iowa Hawkeye fans. If you don’t believe me, then search his name on Twitter. Unfortunately, the fans probably aren’t happy with him after this punt attempt on Friday versus Nebraska.

This led to Nebraska scoring a touchdown. The good news for Iowa is, they overcame the miscue and went on to blow out the Cornhuskers. So…how about you take it a little easy on Rastetter?

Most/Fewest Punts

We had a lot of 10-punt efforts last weekend. For this instance, we’ll use one game that had a combined total of 20 punts (10 for each punter). That honor goes to Matt Ference (43.9) of Northern Illinois and Jack Sheldon (41.9) Central Michigan.

For the fewest punts honor, we’ll give it to Michigan State’s Jake Hartbarger, who punted it once for 52-yards in the win against Rutgers.

Awards

You might think I’ll go with Dickson for Third Phase Punter of the Week. Well, I like to throw a curve every now and then. For this instance, I’m giving the honor to Stanford’s Jake Bailey.

The junior had a terrific game against Notre Dame Saturday night, punting the ball five times and pinning the Fighting Irish inside the 20 three times. If that’s not enough, he had six punts go 50-yards or longer, including one that went 65, which is a career-best.