Update – 27 July 2015
BIG SPORTS & BIGGER OPINIONS
The Australian duo of Brad Craddock (Maryland) and Tom Hackett (Utah) yesterday swept college football’s special teams awards, after the pair were named as the best kicker and punter in the game.
Craddock, a junior in his third year with the Terps, won the Lou Groza Award after a breakout season where he converted 18 of 19 field goal attempts and all 41 extra-point attempts. His season-long 57-yard field goal against Ohio State brought the Byrd Stadium crowd to its feat in October…
Craddock’s achievement comes on the back of being named the Big Ten Kicker of the Year, as well as securing a spot on the All-American Second Team.
Hackett, who later in the evening won the Ray Guy Award, became the first ever Utes punter to win the prestigious prize after an outstanding junior year where he recorded 3619 total punting yards from the 77 punts he made. His season-long of 70 yards came in the Utes’ final game of the season against Colorado two weeks ago, where he punted four times for an incredible total of 223 yards.
His season average of 47 yards per punt was the second best in the country, and he led all other punters with 35 punts inside the 20.
Craddock and Hackett are next in action later this month, in their teams’ respective Bowl games;
Another young Australian doing big things in the United States is Bailey Kenter, the number one ranked High School football punter in the game. Here’s his amazing story.
As the NFL continues to grow in popularity in Australia, more and more young Australians are heading over to the United States to try their luck in High School Football or College Football. This year we have been covering the progress of young Australian Bailey Kenter who is currently the #1 ranked punter in all of American High School Football – his story can be found here. Another young Australian achieving great things in the ‘States is Brad Craddock from the University of Maryland Terrapins.
The UMD ‘Terps’, as they are commonly referred to amongst Maryland natives, were a founding partner of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in 1952 however this year left to join the Big Ten Conference. Competing in the East Division, the Terps have had a strong season thus far, owning a 7-4 overall record ahead of this weekend’s final game against Rutgers (6-5 overall). Craddock, the punter/kicker from Adelaide, has been a large part of this success and has steadily risen in popularity amongst Maryland natives since making his debut in 2012.
Having had solid seasons in both his freshman (2012) and sophomore (2013) years, Craddock has really stepped his game up a notch in his junior year – so much so that he is one of three finalists for the 23rd Lou Groza Award, an annual award given to the best kicker in College Football.
Craddock’s season has seen him make all 17 field goal attempts thus far, as well as going a perfect 36-from-36 in extra point attempts. The humble Australian is the last remaining perfect field goal kicker in America and his current streak of 23 consecutive successful field goal attempts (dating back to last season) is the longest active streak in FBS. If he makes his next two attempts, he’ll set a Big Ten record.
Even more impressive is that 10 of his 17 field goals this year have come from beyond the 40 yard mark, including a thrilling last-minute 43-yarder in front of more than 100,000 fans three weeks ago, which helped give Maryland its first ever win at Penn State. Another highlight of Craddock’s breakout season was setting the school record with a 57-yarder against Ohio State in the first week of October.
Here’s the two highlights –
Here’s a summary of Craddock’s college career since making his debut in 2012 –
Australian punter, Sam Irwin-Hill, has made headlines around the globe after playing a key role in a risky, yet ultimately amazing play by the Arkansas Razorbacks against Texas A&M on Saturday.
Late in the second quarter of the clash, on a 4th-and-10 situation the Razorbacks took a gamble from their own 49-yard line and called for a fake punt. Thanks to great blocking from his teammates, Irwin-Hill rushed his way to the end zone to record a memorable touchdown.
The fake punt helped Arkansas take a 21-14 lead over the No. 6-ranked Aggies right before half-time, however they eventually lost a classic encounter, 35-28.
Here’s the footage… (and listen to the commentary refer to Irwin-Hill’s home town as Ben-dingo, as opposed to Bendigo)