Special teams struggled today
I know I am getting really picky here, but if there is one area to find a problem within today’s game it was the special teams. After being outstanding through the first quarter of games, they just didn’t have it today.
Michael Sleep-Dalton, who was the Big Ten’s top punter coming into today, had just one punt opportunity and booted it just 34 yards. He was doing it out of his own endzone but that’s still not good.
Sleep-Dalton’s kick game counterpart, Keith Duncan, also didn’t have his best day. The redshirt junior has put together a fantastic season so far and even in today’s game he accounted for 12 points which included a career-long 49-yard field goal, but he had one big mistake. He missed his first field goal of the season, a 39-yard shank.
Again, getting real picky here, the return game was not necessarily bad, but just boring. Nico Ragaini fair-caught all of his balls (I’m not knocking him for this, they were good decisions, just pointing out the facts), and Ihmir Smith-Marsette decided to bring his lone kick opportunity out of the endzone from three yards deep.
It wasn’t the best decision (given the result hindsight is always 20/20), but he’s just not getting the opportunities he needs to bust one, and it seemed like he was getting a bit antsy when deciding to return that one. Again, I would rather have him take that out then not just in the chance that he does bust one, but this time the result wasn’t as good as fair-catching it.