Austin McNamara’s Leg Should Be a Registered Weapon [Video]
In the Red Raiders' 34-27 win over West Virginia, there were several big plays. New starting QB Henry Colombi converting on third down with his legs or his throw on 4th and 11 to Erik Ezukanma come to mind. Obviously, the 4th quarter fumble return by Zech McPhearson was the game-winning score and arguably the most memorable play of the contest.
I'd like to highlight two plays by sophomore punter Austin McNamara that I think sealed the game for the Red Raiders. McNamara finished with five punts in the game for 267 yards, an average of more than 54 yards.
No punt was longer than the certified bazooka blast in the third quarter after a dreadful three and out from the Texas Tech offense. McNamara waltzed onto the field and put the ball from the south endzone to the north endzone with a swift swipe of his lead pipe leg. It was officially an 87-yard touchback from the Irish hammer, which flipped the field and started the defense in a great position to force a punt of their own.
If McNamara hadn't bombed that one, the Mountaineers might have been in a position to get points or go for it on a fourth down. Instead, the punt gave the ball back to the Red Raiders so they could burn nearly three minutes off the clock before punting again.
Noted punting expert Pat McAfee was certainly impressed on twitter.
The next game-winning play from McNamara came with 50 seconds left in the game. After a nearly masterful 4:25-drive, Texas Tech was forced to punt for the final time that night.
McNamara's boulder of a right foot connected with the ball and it went approximately 3,000 feet in the air and wasn't fair caught until :42 seconds left in the game. That's the difference in between West Virginia being able to get a legit shot at the endzone at the end of the game and Jarrett Doege being rushed into a hail mary.
Special teams matter, and the Red Raiders have a certified weapon in the Irish Hammer Austin McNamara.