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Special Teams U: Kicking and Screaming

The finale of our Positional U series has us picking the team with the best special teams unit in recent memory.

This is it! The final installment of our Positional U series.

If you missed any of the other position battles, you can find them here: QB U, RB U, WR U, O-Line U, D-line U, LB U, DB U.

This week our six voters ranked our top three MAC schools in terms of special teams production over the past 20 years - kicking, punting, returns, and blocks were all considered for this. Each first place vote is worth 3 points, second place is worth 2 points, and a third place vote is worth one point. The team with the most points is crowned ST U.

So who do we have as ST U?

The Toledo Rockets!!

The Rockets ran away with this one, claiming 15 points. The Kent State Golden Flashes were a distant second, with six points, and the Ball State Cardinals picked up five points and finished third.

Toledo’s Special Teams

Only three MAC kickers have ever made every field goal they attempted on the season (min. 10 attempts)...two of them were Rockets. Here’s just a brief look at some of the great Special Teams players who have suited up for Toledo since 2000.

  • Jason Robbins, K (2002-2005): 211/223 XP (94.6%), 38/46 FG (82.6%), 325 points; one of three MAC kickers to make every FGA in a season (13/13 in 2005)
  • Brett Kern, P (2004-2007): 189 punts, 7994 yards, 42.3 yards/punt
  • Alex Steigerwald, K (2006-2009): 143/150 XP (95.3%), 48/58 FG (82.8%), 287 points; 10 punts for 317 yards; one of three MAC kickers to make every FGA in a season (13/13 in 2007)
  • Eric Page, KR/PR (2009-2011): 80 kick returns, 27.3 yards/return, four touchdowns; 46 punt returns, 7.9 yards/return, one touchdown
  • Bernard Reedy, KR/PR (2010-2013): 76 kick returns, 23.7 yards/return, three touchdowns; 29 punt returns, 10.9 yards/return, one touchdown
  • Vince Penza, P (2010-2013): 207 punts, 8223 yards, 39.7 yards/punt
  • Jeremiah Detmer, K (2011-2013): 145/151 XP (96%), 67/77 FG (84.4%), 325 points; his 84.4% is the MAC record for career FG percentage (min. 50 attempts)
  • Jameson Vest, K (2015-2018): 230/237 XP (97%), 72/96 FG (75%), 446 points; his 446 points is second most in MAC history (just Travis Prentice of Miami has more - 468).

Dave: Toledo has had some great special teams players - Detmer and Vest immediately come to mind. They always seem to have a solid kicker and a good punter. Plus their playmakers were always solid returners as well. I have NIU in second place because nobody blocks kicks/punts like them. They wreck havoc on opposing kickers/punters and have blocked 23 kicks in the past four seasons alone! They have also had some great return men (Tommylee Lewis) and kickers (Azar, Nendick, Hagan).


James: Toledo is a great choice, as I see the majority picked them up. Their ability to develop kickers doesn't go unnoticed, certainly. I've always felt that Kent State has had great special teams-- sometimes by necessity. The teams which dominated the early 2010's had good special teams play thanks to Dri Archer's return ability, while kickers and punters for teams after that tended to be the most active players on the team, ensuring Kent had to place emphasis on the third phase. Recently, Kent State has had some good kickers in Shane Hynes and Matthew Trickett, while Derek Adams was one of the better punters of the conference prior to his transfer this offseason. Miami's 2019 special teams unit alone places them in the top conversations as well.

Zach: I went with Toledo at one because of Detmer, but I could be convinced that Kent should be first. Cribbs is one of the best PR/KR specialists ever. Also shout out to Brad Maynard at Ball State who became the first punter from an FBS conference to be named Conference POY.

Jordan: For the third phase, UT is the clear choice for Special Teams U. The production of Kern, Detmer, and Vest cannot be overstated. For number two, Miami’s special teams is an underrated group with Sam Sloman, Zac Murphy, Jared Parseghian, and Maurice Thomas. Lastly, Ball State deserves a mention for the exploits of Secor and Maynard.

Sam: Ball State’s kickers have done well. Starting with Brian Jackson, not only does he run a kicking camp, helping the potential future kickers of the NFL, he was a stud in college. He kicked 76.5% accuracy with 96.5% XP%. He also played for the Arena Football league and even won a championship. Ian McGarvey recorded an 80% FG% in college and a 96% XP%. He is the special teams coordinator for a high school in Indianapolis. Scott Secor 2014 MAC Special Teams Player of the Year, Lou Groza Semifinalist, 81 FG%, 97 XP%. Scott Secor’s highlight may be when he kicked a 55 yard field goal to beat CMU (sorry James).

Did we get it right? Vote for your choice for Special Teams U.


Which school is Special Teams U in the MAC?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    (9 votes)
  • 3%
    Ball State
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Bowling Green
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    (12 votes)
  • 34%
    Central Michigan
    (117 votes)
  • 2%
    Eastern Michigan
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    Kent State
    (6 votes)
  • 7%
    (25 votes)
  • 19%
    Northern Illinois
    (68 votes)
  • 7%
    (27 votes)
  • 7%
    (26 votes)
  • 7%
    Western Michigan
    (27 votes)
343 votes total Vote Now