Dri Archer's Kickoff Return Factor

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Kent State's dynamic RB/WR/KR/PR/whatever has not returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the last six games. It's not from a lack of trying: teams keep kicking away from him. But how much difference has that made for the Flashes starting field position?

There is not a good place to find average starting field position off kickoffs in college football. And it's hard to look at historical numbers because this year teams started kicking from the 35-yard line, not the 30.

I did some quick digging at Kent State's starting field position since Archer's last kickoff return, which was the EMU game. In the six games since, Dri Archer had his mitts on four kickoff returns for a total of 35 yards. My recollection on those kickoffs is they were short kickoffs and he didn't have much room to run. But there is definitely something to this stat: Kent State opponents are averaging 51 yards per kickoff, lowest in the country, and with CFBStats going back to 2008, that would be the lowest during that time. Again, kicking five yards closer to a touchback makes shorter kicks the norm, but this is a full three yards shorter than they're kicking to Oregon.

Caveat: I am probably missing something here, notably touchbacks, onside kicks, penalties and the curious kickoff fair catch. What I did here was subtract a team's kickoff return average from their opponent's average kickoff and add it to the opponent's 35-yard line. Average Kickoff Starting Position (AKOSP) is the result:

# Team KO Return
Average
Opp KO
Average
AKOSP
1 Kent State 22.7 51.0 36.7
2 Kansas State 28.7 57.2 36.5
3 USC 26.6 58.5 33.1
4 San Jose State 26.1 58.2 32.9
5 Middle Tennessee 28.5 60.7 32.8
6 Oklahoma State 27.9 60.3 32.6
7 Florida State 26.3 58.7 32.6
8 Oklahoma 28.3 60.9 32.4
9 Rutgers 30.4 63.1 32.3
10 Miami of Florida 28.0 61.1 31.8
11 Hawai'i 26.0 59.2 31.8
12 Texas State 27.3 60.9 31.4
13 Utah 24.2 58.1 31.2
14 Tulsa 28.3 62.3 31.0
15 Western Kentucky 24.4 59.4 30.0
16 Florida International 24.3 59.6 29.7
17 Missouri 26.1 61.6 29.5
18 UCF 25.2 60.7 29.5
19 Purdue 23.0 58.7 29.3
20 Alabama 25.5 61.3 29.3

The median AKOSP for a team was a little behind the 26-yard line. So Kent State is starting about 10 yards better than the average.

Either my suspicion was right or my math is wrong, but this should give you an idea of how much the threat of Archer simply lining up on kickoff returns have given opponents pause.

When discussing Archer as the MAC Player of the Year, some of these numbers are already rolled into his 37.3 yards per return and three touchdowns, but for the 24 non-Archer returns that average 13.5 yards according to the books, you may as well add another 10 yards per return to No. 1's credit.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Hustle Belt

You must be a member of Hustle Belt to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hustle Belt. You should read them.

Join Hustle Belt

You must be a member of Hustle Belt to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hustle Belt. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker