After the Wildcats’ defeat of Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday night, members of the media will run over each other trying to get to Collin Klein, to Ty Zimmerman, to Justin Tuggle, to John Hubert. All those guys deserve massive credit, as do many more on the roster. One guy few will think of, however, is one who proved incredibly instrumental in Kansas State’s victory.
The punter, Ryan Doerr.
Think about it. As a rule, punters are underrated. They are typically considered a last resort. Fans usually groan when the punt unit comes onto the field. That being the case, bailing out a team after its offense has failed to score is a rather important job.
Doerr did that with excellence on Saturday night.
He punted five times. The average starting field position for the Sooners after Doerr’s punts was their own 12-yard line. Thanks to Doerr, Oklahoma faced the challenge of approximately 88 yards to the end zone immediately following every Kansas State drive that fizzled.
Think of the momentum swing that those punts created. Oklahoma would be all amped up, having stopped the Wildcats from scoring, only to have the Sooners’ offense presented with nearly the entire length of the field to go for a score.
If you still don’t believe me about Doerr’s incredible contribution, check out the list of his game-changing moments below, which I pulled from ESPN’s play-by-play:
“Ryan Doerr punt for 27 yards, downed at the Okla 9.”
(OU’s drive ended in a field goal.)
“Ryan Doerr punt for 29 yards, fair catch by Justin Brown at the Okla 18.”
(OU’s drive ended in a punt after the Sooners went three-and-out.)
“Ryan Doerr punt for 49 yards, fair catch by Justin Brown at the Okla 16.”
(OU’s drive ended in a fumble.)
“Ryan Doerr punt for 43 yards, fair catch by Justin Brown at the Okla 12.”
(OU’s drive ended in a touchdown.)
“Ryan Doerr punt for 37 yards, downed at the Okla 4.”
(OU’s drive ended in an interception.)