Iowa’s 7-3 win over South Dakota State yesterday was far from stylish. Those 7 points came on a field goal and two safeties. With the offense making fans eyesore, they funneled their cheers towards a special teams player that netted over three times the yardage the offense produced. Punter Tory Taylor got ‘M-V-P’ chants from the crowd.
As the Iowa offense continued to struggle and the Hawkeyes trotted Taylor onto the field 4th down after 4th down, national media caught on that Iowa was winning off the foot of their punter.
At Iowa’s postgame press conference, Taylor stood up at the podium and fielded questions after his 10 punt, 479-yard day. It’s pretty rare to see a punter at the podium after a win, let alone one who was showered with M-V-P chants from Kinnick faithful.
“It’s pretty cool,” Taylor admitted.
A reporter asked, “Do you think punting is winning?”
“Well, that’s a great question. I’m gonna say yes. Yeah I do,” the Aussie chuckled.
“I think not even necessarily like me or anything like here but I think probably last year you kind of saw there was a lot of punters, especially from the Big Ten. I think it really does and it’s more so probably just that field position thing. To answer your question, I think so.”
Seven out of Taylor’s 10 punts landed inside the 20 yard line, including two inside the two yard line. The highlight of the day was a 49-yard punt that was stopped by the special teams unit less than 1 yard away from the Jackrabbit end zone. The following play was a safety.
“That’s huge. It’s just really huge,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said postgame. “It makes it a tough hill to climb if you’re on offense.”
Defensive back Terry Roberts has seen plenty of Tory Taylor punts. They’re playing their third season together on the special teams unit. When asked about what it was like watching Taylor punting, he quipped that ‘he can’t really see it’ because he’s sprinting down the field.
“I just look up and try to find the ball and is just like magic,” Roberts beamed. “Just like never seen before. My opinion, the best in the nation. I don’t care when no one says.”