Final Grades: Special Teams Got a Lot From Dellinger, But Not Much Else
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The 2019 season for Purdue’s special teams was just about what you expect to see from that group.
Kicker J.D. Dellinger was the most consistent player with this group. He connected on all 35 of his extra point attempts, and made 13 of his 16 field goals. His biggest moment came at Northwestern, when he nailed a 39-yard field goal with three seconds left to give Purdue the win. Early in the year against TCU, he hit a 53-yard field goal, which is tied for the third-longest make in school history. Dellinger was solid all year long and will be another key piece of Purdue’s team next season.
The punting game for Purdue was up and down. To begin the season, freshman Brooks Cormier handled the majority of the punts but was often inconsistent. Purdue coach Jeff Brohm began giving punt attempts to Zac Collins and continued to use both guys the rest of the season.
Cormier acted as more of a traditional punter and averaged 40.3 yards per punt, whereas Collins served as a rugby style punter. Collins’ punt style was used to limit kick returns by keeping the ball low and away from the retuner. He was successful in doing so and averaged 39 yards per punt. Overall, the Purdue punt game was about average and kept opposing returners from doing much for most of the season.
The biggest area where Purdue struggled was in returning kicks and punts. The return game took a big blow when Rondale Moore went down with an injury in Purdue’s fourth game of the season. As the main returner, it was a crushing loss to that group.
Jackson Anthrop replaced Moore, but was injured for most of the season himself, and was able to average just 15.2 yards per kick return and 5.2 yards per punt return. Purdue failed to return a score for a touchdown and, more importantly, failed to break off any big returns.
It will be interesting to see what Brohm chooses to do next year to improve in that area. Moore will be back, but will he want to risk using him after a return from a leg injury?