Special Teams the Key to Kansas State's 2019 Success

Kelly Thompson

Much fanfare has been made this week about true freshman Joshua Youngblood setting the Kansas State freshman record with his third kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game against Iowa State on Saturday. 

And, that fanfare is much deserved and exciting. 

But, Kansas State's special teams dominance transcends what has happened on kickoff returns. 

In fact, every aspect of the Wildcats' special teams unit has been dominating this season. 

And, of course, that starts with Youngblood. Already at three, the freshman has a real chance to break Kansas State's kickoff return touchdown record (7) next year or by his early junior year. While Youngblood does not qualify to be placed on return yardage leaders (only 13 returns this season), his average per return would rank first in the nation (38 yards per return). And, despite only having 13 returns (compared to an over 20 average for the 'top 25' returners in the nation), Youngblood leads the nation in Kickoff Returns for Touchdowns this year! 

But it doesn't end with kickoff returns. Punter Delvin Anctil is 16th in the country and 1st in the Big 12 with an average punt of 45 yards. His performance has made him a finalist for the Ray Guy Outstanding Punter award. 

Place Kicker Blake Lynch (a junior) was clutch on Saturday and throughout the season, netting a 90% field goal percentage which is good for 7th in the country Lynch was placed on the Lou Groza Outstanding Kicker watchlist this season.

Its fair to say that Klieman has placed an emphasis on special teams performance - and the Wildcats have come through over the course of the season. The Unit has been instrumental to Kansas State's 3rd place Big 12 finish in 2019.  

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