With five and a half minutes left in an Apple Cup that was out of reach, Race Porter took a final curtain call.
The University of Washington senior punter eased off just a little with his powerful right foot and dropped the ball out of bounds on the Washington State 3, 46 yards away — still shy of his season average.
It was a small victory in a 40-13 defeat but a fitting end for Porter, one of the few consistent performers in a trying Husky season.
While new coach Kalen DeBoer will miss out on his services, Porter finished as the nation's fourth-most prolific punter, averaging a booming school-record 48.53 yards per kick on 53 tries, which easily broke the previous standard of 45.6, set by Kyle Rasp in 2011.
The versatile Husky special-teamer trailed only San Diego State's Matt Araiza, who led the nation with a 51.47 average; Colorado State's Ryan Stonehouse, who averaged an equally impressive 50.91; and Michigan State's Bryce Baringer, a 48.55-yard kicker each time out.
Porter could probably identify best with Baringer, like him often an inclement-weather kicker, compared to the others who no doubt were aided some by constant sunny conditions or high altitude.
Breaking down his Husky career, Porter appeared in games over five seasons, mostly as a holder.
He punted for parts of four seasons, launching 85 kicks for an average of 46.2, also a school record, bettering Rasp's 44.4 career output in 2010-11.
Porter had a long punt of 73 yards against Arizona State this season. He rocketed 27 kicks of 50 yards or more. He dropped 32 punts inside the opposing 20-yard-line. He had two blocked. He had a tackle.
Porter also attempted a pair of fake punts that weren't successful, most notably one in this season's 35-30 setback to Arizona State at home.
In the third quarter on fourth-and-9 from the UW 31, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Porter tucked the ball under his arm, took off and covered 8 yards before getting his helmet taken off by Sun Devils special-teamer Alijah Gammage, who led with his own helmet. Why targeting wasn't called on Gammage was never adequately explained.
However, Porter will live to kick another day in the NFL, probably going to the pros the way most punters do, as a free agent, and staying a long time.
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