Max Duffy produced a highlight not normally seen in American football, but it was a common occurrence to those who pay attention to Australian rules football.
During Kentucky’s 23-21 Gator Bowl win over the N.C State Wolfpack on Saturday, the Wildcat punter pulled off what was one of the slickest moves you’ll ever see in football. Duffy was set to punt the ball away for UK during an early possession in the second quarter, but his attempt was nearly blocked before he scrambled with his legs, hit his opponent with a nasty ball fake, and managed to fire off the kick inside the N.C. State 20-yard line.
PUNTER GOT HIM ? pic.twitter.com/6dBHO3L36a
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 2, 2021
The clip quickly went viral across social media and was an homage to Duffy’s playing days in the Australian Football League before he made the decision to join Kentucky. The 27-year old 2019 Ray Guy Award Winner never fails to impress the Big Blue Nation and has been, at times, the most exciting player to watch over the last two seasons. This play, in particular, was unlike anything Kentucky football fans are used to.
That play by Max Duffy is one of the coolest things I have ever seen a Punter do
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) January 2, 2021
But to those who watch the AFL, Duffy’s spectacular maneuver is a regular occurrence down under.
According to Jai Bendall of news.au.com, Duffy said that the reaction he received after the highlight play was “funny” because it’s something Australians have “seen every weekend in Australia in the AFL.”
“I was caught off guard because I was more worried about the bad job we’d done with the punt,” Duffy said. “Since then I’ve got a fair few messages, which is funny because it’s something we seen every weekend in Australia in the AFL.”
Duffy spent two seasons in the AFL with the Fremantle Dockers (real name) during 2014 and 2015, appearing in three games, but he clearly picked up on the trickery and brought it to America. After the play was over, he hadn’t even realized how impressive his execution had been until his teammates approached him; Duffy was more upset about the nearly blocked punt than anything.
“When I went off to the sideline I was pretty p***ed off to be honest because we didn’t do the job that we wanted,” Duffy added. “But then I got to the sideline and all the guys were going crazy and telling me ‘You’re going to be on ESPN’ and ‘That’s definitely top 10 (on SportsCenter)’.”
For us American football viewers, Duffy’s play was one of the more impressive things we’ve ever seen a punter do. It’s too bad he can’t come back for another season in the blue and white…