Punter for MVP? Hawkeye fans think so

Published: Sep. 4, 2022 at 11:21 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Having a weapon like Tory Taylor on special teams is a real treat. There’s no doubt he helped the Iowa football team get in the win column on Saturday against South Dakota State.

“I always get a little nervous on the first punt of the first day, just because you never really know what’s my day going to be like today, but it makes things a lot easier when you hit a good, ball first up,” he explained.

Junior punter Tory Taylor opened up the 2022 campaign with a career day. He racked up 479 yards on 10 kicks, with seven of those punts landing inside the 20 yard line, two within the two.

“That’s huge. That’s really huge,” Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It makes it a tough hill to climb, when you’re on offense.”

Taylor credited the guys on the special teams unit for making the Jackrabbits field position tough throughout the entirety of the game. It helped the Hawkeyes pull off their 7-3 victory as the defense picked up two safeties.

“I really just try to catch it and kick it as far and as high as I can. I’m really lucky that those guys on the punt unit, want to be on the punt unit. Like Terry Roberts, Cooper DeJean, guys that run down there and make tackles, cause a fair catch or down it inside the five,” Taylor said.

Guys like Roberts, who’s playing his third season on the special teams unit, know that what Taylor does is special.

“I can’t really watch him punt, but I just look up and and try to find the ball,” Roberts said. “It’s just like magic. I’ve never seen it before, but he’s very consistent. In my opinion, the best in the nation.”

Even Hawkeye fans have grown to love the punter from down under as they chanted M-V-P during Saturday’s game.

“I don’t know about that. I think it’s just a few Hawkeye fans taking things a bit too seriously, but it’s pretty cool,” Taylor said about the chant. “It does help me and I know it helps my family, knowing that there’s that sort of stuff that goes on. Not necessarily of the MVP chant, but just the love from the fans in general,” he added.

Next week’s game, regardless of the outcome, might mark the most memorable game for Taylor. It will be the first time his family will be in town to watch him play.

“Pretty big moment for me, especially my family. There’s seven of them coming. I’m really excited for that. It’s probably been the one box I haven’t been able to tick off since I’ve been here, but it’s probably going to be a dream come true. I can’t wait for them to get here, enjoy the experience and see where I’ve been the last couple of years,” Taylor said.

The Hawkeyes host the Cyclones on Saturday, Sept. 10 for the Cy-Hawk game.