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Punting is key aspect of special teams play

October 4, 2013
By SETH STASKEY - Buckeye Blitz ( , Times Leader

There's no head football coach who likes to punt.

However, all coaches understand the importance of having a good punter and being sound on special teams.

There was a time this past spring when the Buckeyes literally had no idea who their punter would be after Ben Buchanan graduated and no one had really stepped up to assume the role. They thought they had signed one during the recruiting season, but he elected to go elsewhere.

Thus, Meyer and special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs were in a bit of a bind. Then they learned of Aussie Cameron Johnston.

He visited campus, signed a national letter of intent and has been a starter since he first set foot on campus.

He had one of his best performances last Saturday in the win against Wisconsin.

Johnston punted six times with all of them landing inside the 20-yard line. Taking it a step further, five of those were on or inside the 10-yard line.

After the Buckeyes' offense couldn't get a first down, which would have basically allowed them to run out the game, Johnston was sent back out and delivered his biggest kick.

He unloaded a 55-yarder that was downed at the 10 with less than 90 seconds to play.

"He's actually better (at putting backspin on the ball) than driving it," Meyer said. "We have been working on it. His last punt was a four, five, six (second) hang time and that's what we expect all the time."

Johnston was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week.

"He's a very valuable weapon for us," Meyer said. "He's a freshman, too, so we have him for a long time."


To say the series between the Buckeyes and Wildcats has been one-sided would still be selling it short. Ohio State has simply dominated Northwestern over the years.

Saturday will be the 75th meeting between the two schools. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series, 59-14-1. They're 26-6-1 in Evanston all time. The last time Ohio State lost to Northwestern came in 2004. Prior to that, the last loss to the Wildcats was sustained in 1971.

Saturday's game will be the first meeting between the two since 2008.

This will be the fourth time Pat Fitzgerald has gone up against Ohio State. The Buckeyes and Penn State are the only Big Ten teams he's not beaten.


The hit ESPN show has been no stranger to Buckeyes' games over the years. Ohio State owns a 20-10 record with Game Day on site. Of those, 13 have come in Columbus and the Buckeyes have won 10.

The first Game Day visit to an OSU game came on Sept. 1996 when the Buckeyes hosted Notre Dame.


Northwestern is wrapping up two solid weeks of preparation for the Buckeyes today. Ohio State takes next week off before beginning its second half of the season against Iowa.

This is the first of four times the Buckeyes will take on a team coming off its bye week. Iowa, too, will be resting next week before visiting Columbus.

Penn State and Purdue will also be coming off, off weeks before tangling with Ohio State.



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