For the final part of our preview, I’ll take a look at the special teams for both sides. And just like I do for most of the special teams previews throughout the season, I’m going to make this one short, sweet, and with only half of an ass. I’m going to use the four categories of kicking, kickoffs, punting and returns, pick each one individually and then see who takes it at the end. Simple enough? Lezgo!
Boise – Kyle Brotzman.
17-23 FG, Long 52; 64-66 PAT.
TCU – Ross Evans.
14-17 FG, Long 48; 60-62 PAT.
When you look at the kicking breakdowns for these two teams, you can see why it’s much more worth the whiles for both to put the ball in the end zone rather than rely on a field goal attempt. In all fairness, neither kicker is BAD, persay – in fact, Evans is really pretty good as a whole. The issue with both is, neither can kick well under pressure. Evans somewhat redeemed himself this season in the Air Force game, although that game never should’ve gotten to that point, but unfortunately for this kid his only legacy will be the Utah debacle.
As for Brotzman, coincidentally enough, his biggest career gaffe to this point came in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl when he shanked a short field goal in the third quarter that would’ve in all likelihood given Boise the game. Sure, he made three others to keep the Broncos in it, but no one remembers those kinds of kicks.
Really, even though Evans has had fewer opportunities, he has a better percentage, and is more accurate inside 40 yards as his only misses came from beyond that mark. By contrast, three of Brotzman’s misses came from within 40 yards, including one within 30. They’re both going to make their extra point attempts, so I’m going to give it to Evans based on his FG percentage
Edge – Frogs
Boise – Kyle Brotzman, Jimmy Pavel. (stats averaged)
106 kickoffs, 61.1 yard avg, 7 touchbacks, 2 out of bounds, 42.9 yard net.
TCU – Kevin Sharples, Ross Evans. (stats averaged)
90 kickoffs, 63.3 yard avg, 5 touchbacks, 2 out of bounds, 43.7 yards net.
Should be self explanatory – Frogs have a slightly better average and net, but Broncos put the ball in the end zone more. Neither kicker is flawless when it comes to accuracy.
Edge – Push.
Boise – Kyle Brotzman, Brad Elkin (stats averaged)
49 punts, 42.0 yard average, 4 touchbacks, 20 inside 20, 11 50+
TCU – THE HEAVIEST PUNTER IN DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL
51 punts, 35.8 yard average, 1 TB, 16 inside 20, 3 50+.
Even Boise’s back up kicker looks like Secretariat to Kelton’s Rachel Alexandra.
Edge – Boise
Here is where things will get dicey and the pick will ultimately be made. We take for granted that Jeremy Kerley is just better than everyone at returns, but Boise feels the same way about Titus Young. For brevity, I’m just going to include the #1 punt returner and two starting kick returners for both schools.
Boise – Kyle Wilson
20 punts returned, 10.4 yard average, long of 59
TCU – Jeremy Kerley
34 punts returned, 14.3 yard average, long of 71, 2 TDs.
Welps, that was easy.
Edge – Frogs.
Boise – Titus Young, Doug Martin (stats averaged).
34 kicks returned, 28.75 yard average, long of 100, 2 TDs
TCU – Jeremy Kerley, Greg McCoy (stats averaged).
26 punts returned, 32.45 yard average, long of 81, 1 TD.
Alright, so to a TCU fan, this can be skewed in our favor with few arguments, right? However, I’ll at least do some justice to the Boise faithful here and try and keep an even keel. Alright, so Titus Young is a really, really good kick returner. Jeremy Kerley is also a very good kick returner, although he shines far brighter fielding punts. You’d be surprised, though, to learn that Doug Martin and Greg McCoy actually average more yards per return than their more notable counter parts – in McCoy’s case, it’s 12 more yards (38). Yes, their yards are skewed because they have fewer overall returns – McCoy has 9, Martin 6 – but… 38 yards? Wowza! I haven’t personally watched Young return a kick this season, but for those of us who watch the Frogs, we know that McCoy is a muchbigger threat than Kerley to take one to the house by far – he’s been called the fastest player on the team – but has been kicked to this year because Kerley has the name recognition. Don’t be surprised if Boise picks the Kerley poison on Monday. It’s a close call, but, gotta go with the home team.
Edge - Frogs.
Overall Edge – Frogs – 2.5 vs. 1.5.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a final roundup and prediction.