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Saturday, August 23, 2008

The 7 Greatest NU Punters of All Time. Ever.

Penn State is Linebacker U. USC is Tailback U. Hell, even Omaha Central is I Back High. Over the last two decades, the University of Nebraska has turned into the University of Punting the Ball Very Well. In no particular order, here are the 7 Greatest Nebraska Punters of All Time. Ever.

Honorable Mention: TOM PUNT, OT. 1988-1991. This young man was monster. Hailing from Sioux City, Iowa and measuring at 6-8, 285, Mr. Punt was the prototype for today's tall and lean offensive linemen. No statistics exist for any actual game kicking experience, but former teammate and fellow walk on Mike Mapes once told me at the dinner table when asked, that Tom Punt indeed could punt the football.

7. MIKE STIGGE, P. 1989-1992. Mike Stigge put Washington, Kansas on the map as the epicenter of American punting. For four years. Often called the Greg Maddux of punting before Maddux became known as the Greg Maddux of pitching. He was a four year starter and a fine young man. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and wore glasses. Those big unisex, late 80's kind.

6. BYRON BENNETT, P/PK. 1990-1993. Byron Bennett is best known for missing the field goal that would have made the score of the 1993 National Championship game, NU 19, FSU 16. He missed and thus the score remained NU 16, FSU 18. Many forget that Bennett was also a good punter, including me.

5. DARIN ERSTAD, P/PK. 1994. Played hockey as a kid in NoDak. Hit the baseball very well. Looked for a new challenge and reportedly said to Coach Osborne, "I am the missing piece to your championship puzzle. I, alone hold the key to a title." Punted 50 times for a 42.6 average. 10-for-10 on extra points. He's lucky I'm not listing the greatest kickers in NU History because he was only 3-for-8. He stunk.

4. JESSE KOSCH, P. 1995-1997. All this guy did was win championships. And kicked footballs. Left-footed. He's from Columbus. Nebraska.

3. DAN HADENFELDT, P. 1998-2000. He was the first guy to hear his name in my "(insert punter's name here) for Heisman!" campaign. I met his mom at my store a few months back. She was an upset customer until I asked if she was related to him at all. She said yes and walked out happy.

2. SAM KOCH, P. 2003-2005. Nebraskan. Professional. Punter. Single-season record holder with a 46.51 average on each ball he punted.

1. (TIE) KYLE LARSON, P. 2001-2003 AND BILL THE FLOWER, P. 1994-INFINITY. I once pancaked Kyle Larson when he was a junior in high school. He led Nebraska class A in tackles that year. Bill The Flower was also a good punter.

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I'm afraid that with three posts, you have officially killed the Tunnel Walk for this week.

Great stuff, though. Keep 'em coming!
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