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Kentucky is once again ‘Punter U’ thanks to Max Duffy

There were a lot of impressive performances in Kentucky’s win over Toledo — DeAndre Square, Brandin Echols, Bryce Oliver, and Kavosiey Smoke, to name a few — but no player was more dominant than Max Duffy. The 27-year-old Aussie was a weapon on special teams, punting six times for an average of 54 yards, the second-highest single-game average in school history (min. 5 punts) behind Bill Hawk vs. Tennessee on Nov. 23, 1991 (56.5 yards per punt).

Watching Duffy boot the ball down the field, you couldn’t help but recall Steve Spurrier’s famous line from 2011, “Kentucky’s got a heck of a punter,” except with Duffy, it’s not a backhanded compliment; his punting is an added bonus, not just a saving grace. Last season, his first at Kentucky, he averaged 44.8 yards on 60 punts; after Saturday, that average is up to 45.62, which is on pace to top Glenn Pakulak’s career average of 44.43 from 2000-02 (134 punts). He’s also on track to break the single season average punting record. He finished last season third behind Pakulak (2002: 45.58 yards per kick) and Tim Masthay (2008: 45.23 yards per kick).

To celebrate the return of Punter U, let’s dive deeper into Duffy’s performance.

Five of the six punts were 53 or more yards

Raise your hand if you thought he was going for a fake on the first one:

The one that wasn’t was downed on the three-yard line

That must be what Dean Hood dreams of at night.

The longest was 61 yards

That’s the fourth longest in his career behind a 63-yard punt at Texas A&M and 65- and 67-yard punts in the Citrus Bowl vs. Penn State.

After Duffy’s punts: 0 points for Toledo, 24 for Kentucky

The punt chart is impressive:

  • 55 yards, Toledo began on 20 and punted, set up UK touchdown
  • 56 yards, Toledo began on 13 and punted, set up UK touchdown
  • 46 yards was downed at 3-yard line, set up end of first half
  • 53 yards, Toledo began on 29 and fumbled, set up UK field goal
  • 53 yards, Toledo began on 17 and punted
  • 61 yards, Toledo began on 33 and punted, set up UK touchdown

He leads the SEC after Week 1

Right now, Duffy leads the SEC in average yards per punt and longest punt:

1. Max Duffy Kentucky 6 324 61 54.00
2. Zach Von Rosenberg LSU 3 155 53 51.67
3. Harrison Smith Vanderbilt 7 330 54 47.14
4. Mac Brown Ole Miss 5 234 54 46.80
5. Arryn Siposs Auburn 6 270 49 45.00
6. Tommy Townsend Florida 3 134 50 44.67
7. Braden Mann Texas A&M 3 130 55 43.33
8. Joseph Charlton South Carolina 5 216 59 43.20
9. Tucker McCann Missouri 4 172 58 43.00
10. Sam Loy Arkansas 4 142 40 35.50

*Qualified players only

Duffy is second in the country in average yards per punt behind Arizona State’s Michael Turk (63.0 yards). On Saturday, he became the fifth different SEC punter since 2000 to average at least 54 yards per punt in a single game (min. six punts), and the first to do so since Florida’s Johnny Townsend vs. Georgia on Oct. 28, 2017. Last night on his call-in show, Mark Stoops was asked if he thought Duffy was the best punter in the SEC.

“I haven’t seen them all yet, but he certainly could be. The LSU and A&M guys are good, very talented. But Max did a phenomenal job, I think the average field position was the 19-yard line [on his punts]. Shoutout to Coach Hood, because in the hidden yardage category in special teams, we were plus-76 overall. Pretty strong statistic.”

“A different dude”

Duffy is one of a growing number of Australian punters in college football, and Kentucky’s second following Matt Panton. Last year, he was on the watchlist for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the top punter in the sport. Four of the last five Ray Guy Award winners have been Australian, and Duffy could be next. At age 27, he’s got a different perspective than most players on Kentucky’s roster, which Stoops said helps him keep his composure.

“Definitely, yeah, you can’t phase him. ‘Yeah, coach,’ you know, he’s not real worried about anything. I mean that in a good way, like he cares a great deal, he loves the team and he cares, but he, yeah, he’s a different dude, you know?”

Plus, he likes the wings at KSBar, so he’s got great taste to boot.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

10 Comments for Kentucky is once again ‘Punter U’ thanks to Max Duffy

  1. TonyMontana
    5:44 pm September 3, 2019 Permalink

    I like when punters do the delay thing and take a look at the field. And when they roll out like Duffy did on that first one. I dont know why they dont do it every single time. There’s gonna be many times when they could probably even pick up the first down because the defense is so focused on covering the return. Duffy is one of my favorite players on this team…. I’ve never said that about a kicker.

    • satcheluk
      9:21 pm September 3, 2019 Permalink


  2. cats646
    7:18 pm September 3, 2019 Permalink

    The good thing is that now we’re also RB OL LB and DB U! Lot different than when we used to be just punter U lol.

    • mashburnfan1
      8:20 pm September 3, 2019 Permalink

      What he said, might start calling us NFL U.
      Worst part of this is that we had to punt 6 times. Notice how many other teams punted 3 or 4 times. Vandy did 7 but also played UGA, we played Toledo. We have to punt 6 times vs MSU, UF, UGA, etc we will probably lose.

    • Skooms
      8:55 pm September 3, 2019 Permalink

      Debbie Downer to the rescue!! I was wondering what happened to you after leaving SNL.

  3. Bourbon-n-Coke
    8:24 pm September 3, 2019 Permalink

    The guy is a serious dude! Glad to have him! Since he is of age, I am sure he would vote for beer sales at the stadium. Speaking of which, did anyone see the beer lines from the Vandy game? People were lined up 100 to 200 deep! Seems like a really bad idea….

    • satcheluk
      9:23 pm September 3, 2019 Permalink

      Might as well call yourself filet and ketchup.

  4. satcheluk
    9:22 pm September 3, 2019 Permalink

    What kind of moron puts coke on their bourbon?

    • jaws2
      9:46 pm September 3, 2019 Permalink

      Agree totally. I keep several quality bourbons on hand. When someones at my house and wants a bourbon with something other than ice, which I don’t use, I send them to the ‘other’ bourbons. If they cry about it, I just tell them sorry. that’s the way it is.

  5. foamfinger
    8:43 am September 4, 2019 Permalink

    I didn’t get to watch the game, but did they flag Toledo on the second punt for block in the back?