Arizona placekickers are very much in the news today following Nick Folk’s game-winning field goal for the New York Jets yesterday and senior Jake Smith recording a UA-record 16 points against UNLV on Saturday.
Smith made it three consecutive years Arizona has featured a kicker who has earned Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors. In addition to Smith’s scoring, he made three of four field-goal attempts against UNLV, including one from 41 yards. He made all seven of his point-after attempts.
John Bonano earned the player-of-the-week honors in 2011 against UCLA and 2012 against Oklahoma State.
Smith’s performance highlighted another solid performance by Arizona’s special teams overall. The Wildcats’ coverage and return teams have been mostly impressive.
Smith also kicked off 11 times against UNLV with five touchbacks. The Rebels had only 16.5 yards per return on six tries and Smith stopped a potential long return by tracking down and tackling a returner.
Smith became the eighth UA placekicker to earn a weekly Pac-10/12 honor. The most fascinating aspect of that news is legendary Max Zendejas was the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week only once, following his game-winning field goal at ASU in 1985.
Doug Pfaff has the most player of the week honors among UA placekickers with five.
ARIZONA PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK PLACEKICKERS
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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.