Stanford Football: Matt Haack

Our look at position groups in the Pac-12 concludes with punters.

Arizona: Drew Riggleman is back after handling all of the punting responsibilities last season. He averaged 40.1 yards per kick, pinned 18 inside the 20 and had 12 kicks of 50-plus yards. He ranked eighth in the conference -- though the difference between first (Utah’s Tom Hackett) and Riggleman was an average of 3.4 yards.

Arizona State: Punting was one of ASU’s biggest issues last season. Matt Haack started to come on strong at the end of the season and will likely challenge Alex Garoutte, who averaged 38.8 yards per kick last season. Should Haack win the job, Garoutte is always an option with his rollout style. Quarterback Taylor Kelly has also been known to offer the occasional boot. He punted six times last season, once for 50-plus, and had three downed inside the 20.

California: Cole Leininger is back after a very solid season for the Golden Bears, where he was tied for second in the conference with an average of 42.9 yards per kick. Cal has four punters on the roster in addition to Leininger. And while he’s mostly unchallenged, there are plenty of backup options.

Colorado: Third-team all-conference punter Darragh O'Neill returns and was a midseason Ray Guy candidate last season. He averaged 40.5 yards per punt last year and pinned 22 inside the 20.

Oregon: Alejandro Maldonado handled the punting duties last season and made a couple of appearances as a kicker before the job went to Matt Wogan. Expect Wogan to handle all kicking responsibilities, though some walk-ons will also get looks.

Oregon State: Keith Kostol is back as a third-year starter. He finished last season tied for fifth in the conference with an average of 40.5 yards per punt. He also put 23 kicks inside the 20.

Stanford: Ben Rhyne returns to handle the punting duties for the Cardinal. He was one of the best in the conference last season with an average of 42.9 yards per kick -- just half a yard behind Hackett. He had 12 kicks of 50-plus yards and put 15 inside the 20.

UCLA: Sean Covington is back after having a very solid season, where he posted an average of 42.6 yards per punt. Do-it-all quarterback Brett Hundley punted once last season, but it’s safe to assume that Convington’s job is secure.

USC: Kris Albarado didn’t post an impressive yards-per-punt average (37.1), but he was very good at pinning opponents, with 27 kicks inside the 20. And of his 64 kicks, almost half were fair-caught.

Utah: Hackett was last season's first-team all-conference punter, so expect some preseason All-American hype for him. As noted earlier, he led the conference with an average of 43.4 yards per punt and buried 27 kicks inside the 20.

Washington: Travis Coons pulled double-duty last season. In addition to nailing 15 of 16 field goal attempts, he also averaged 40.4 yards per punt and had eight kicks of 50-plus yards to go with 23 inside the 20. Korey Durkee did some punting in 2012 before Coons won the job, so he’ll get the first look in 2014. Newcomer Tristan Vizcaino could also get looks at kicker and/or punter.

Washington State: Wes Concepcion was the starter in the final two games as punter last season. With Mike Bowlin gone, he should be the favorite to handle punting duties full time. Concepcion punted 12 times last season for an average of 36.2 yards. Eight of those 12 were fair catches and three were inside the 20.

Previous positions

Kicker
Safety
Cornerback
Linebacker
Defensive end
Tight end
Quarterback
Running back
Receiver
Offensive line
Defensive tackle

Instant Analysis: Stanford 42, ASU 28

September, 21, 2013
9/21/13
10:44
PM ET

STANFORD, Calif. -- In the weekend's only matchup of ranked teams, No. 5 Stanford jumped out to a big lead and coasted to a 42-28 win against No. 23 Arizona State. Here's how it went down:

It was over when: Stanford DE Ben Gardner blocked a pooch-punt attempt from ASU QB Taylor Kelly with the Cardinal leading 32-7 late in the third quarter. One play later, RB Tyler Gaffney scored from 16 yards out to give Stanford a 39-7 lead with 37 seconds left in the quarter.

The Sun Devils turned in a valiant comeback attempt, but the deficit was too big to overcome.

Game ball goes to: Stanford DE Josh Mauro. Making his first career start, the fifth-year senior had an interception and 25-yard return and a sack.

Stat of the game: Arizona State players who had punts blocked: Two. In addition to Kelly's blocked pooch, punter Matt Haack had one blocked, too. His, however, was unique in that it wasn't touched by a Stanford player.

Haack punted it into the back of a teammate, then proceeded to kick it out of the back of the end zone for a safety.

What Stanford learned: Keeping the play calling simple was a good plan. The Cardinal was vanilla in wins against San Jose State and Army to begin the year, only to breakout several unseen looks against Arizona State. Stanford moved the ball at will in the first half before sitting on it for most of the second half.

What Arizona State learned: The Sun Devils aren't ready to be considered serious challengers in the Pac-12. They need to find a cure for the "dropsies" and, at least against a team like Stanford, have to find more balance offensively. The loss did nothing to diminish their chances at winning the South, but does show how far they have to go long-term.

Reynolds ejected: Stanford All-American S Ed Reynolds was ejected in the fourth quarter for targeting. He will be forced to sit out the first half of Stanford's game next week against Washington State in Seattle.

What it means: Stanford is every bit the national title contender it was billed as before the year began. The final score isn't a clear indicator of just how dominant the Cardinal was. Stanford led 29-0 at halftime and was in run-out-the-clock mode with reserves rotating in on both sides of the ball for most of the second half.

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