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College Football: Iowa’s Taylor named B1G Punter of the Year



This news story was published on December 18, 2020.
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IOWA CITY – University of Iowa freshman punter Tory Taylor has been named the Big Ten’s Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year. The announcement was made Thursday by the league office.

Taylor is the first Hawkeye and first freshman to be named Punter of the Year in the Big Ten in the award’s 10-year history.

Taylor was also a first-team All-Big Ten selection by league coaches and media. In addition to Taylor’s honor, three more Hawkeyes – redshirt junior Charlie Jones, and seniors Keith Duncan and Ihmir-Smith Marsette – earned All-Big Ten honors.

Jones was named second-team All-Big Ten by league coaches and third-team All-Big Ten by the media. Duncan was a third-team All-Big Ten selection (coaches & media) and Smith-Marsette was an All-Big Ten honorable mention (coaches & media).

Taylor, a Melbourne, Australia native, earns his first career postseason honors in his first season as a Hawkeye. The Ray Guy Award semifinalist averaged 44.1 yards on 40 punts this season, including nine punts of 50 yards or longer and 18 punts downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Taylor’s 44.1-yard average ranks third in the Big Ten and 20th in the NCAA.

Taylor has only one touchback in 40 attempts and opposing returners are averaging only 4.6 yards on six punt returns. Opponents have lost two fumbles while fielding punt returns.

Jones, a wide receiver from Deerfield, Illinois, earns his first career postseason honor. As Iowa’s primary punt returner, Jones averaged 10.5 yards per return – the best in the Big Ten and 11th-best in the nation – on 21 punt returns.

In Iowa’s 49-7 win over Michigan State, Jones had a 54-yard punt return for his first career touchdown to earn Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. Jones totaled 105 punt return yards (21.0 average) against the Spartans.

Duncan earns Big Ten postseason honors for the second straight year. Last season, Duncan was named the Big Ten’s Bakken-Anderson Kicker of the Year, along with earning consensus All-America honors.

Duncan is 14-of-18 on field goal attempts in 2020, with three of his four misses from 50 yards or more. Duncan earned his fifth career Big Ten Player of the Week honor following Iowa’s win over Nebraska. He connected on 4-of-5 field goals, including the game-winner from 37 yards. Duncan is a perfect 26-of-26 on PATs this season.

Duncan was recently named one of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is presented to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on.

Smith-Marsette, a Newark, New Jersey, native, earns his third straight postseason honor of his career as a return specialist. He earned the Big Ten’s Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year in 2018.

As Iowa’s primary kick returner, Smith-Marsette averaged 22 yards on eight returns in 2020. His 28.7-yard career kickoff return average ranks second all-time in Big Ten history. Purdue’s Stan Brown (1968-70) holds the record with a 28.8-yard average.

Smith-Marsette also ranks 10th all-time in school history in career all-purpose yards (3,415).

Iowa’s game against Michigan on Saturday has been canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Michigan football program. The Hawkeyes will learn their postseason bowl destination on Sunday, Dec. 20.

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