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WSU punter makes top national ranks

Photo By: Tyler Brown
Weber State University punter Tony Epperson prepares to kick the ball during a game last week. Epperson is leading the nation in punting, with an average of 55 yards per punt. Last Saturday, he had two punts of over 70 yards.

Weber State University punter Tony Epperson is making headlines for himself and the WSU football team. As of last Saturday, Epperson is leading the nation in punting with an average of 48 yards per punt.

“I don’t really practice punting a whole lot,” Epperson said. “It’s kind of funny. I don’t really get a lot of time to practice punting. I get a few reps in practice and then during game time. . . . It’s just another play. It’s not tiring or anything, and it’s just kicking the ball.”

The WSU punter also set a record for WSU last week. During the Wildcats’ game against FCS-ranked McNeese State University, Epperson averaged 55 yards per punt, the school record for the highest average punt in a single game.

In three games played this season for WSU, Epperson has made a total of 26 punts and has racked up 1,248 total yards during his punting.

Epperson, a WSU junior from Park City, is not only leading the nation in punting, but is second on the Wildcat roster in tackles with 19 for the season. Epperson plays safety as well for the Wildcats, and along with his 19 tackles, he has also forced a fumble and recovered a fumble for a gain of 12 yards, and is the only player on the Wildcat roster who has caught an interception so far this season. After catching the interception, Epperson ran for a gain of 25 yards. The punter/safety is also tied at the top of the statistics with six assisted tackles.

Football Head Coach Jody Sears said he was amazed with Epperson’s 74-yard punt at the game against Brigham Young University.

“Oh boy, he turned the field over for us — I don’t know how many times,” Sears said. “I think he averaged 50 yards a kick . . . I was really happy with that.”

Epperson said he attributes his national success to his coaches and team.

“I like the new style that Coach (Ryan) Smaha, our special teams coach, has brought in,” Epperson said. “It’s kind of a little rollout . . . and the guys are doing a great job blocking, so I don’t have to worry about (the punt) getting blocked or anything, and that always relieves a lot of stress for a kicker.”

Epperson said he doesn’t feel any extra responsibility along with the national recognition — it’s just part of his game.

“Honestly, I expect it of myself,” Epperson said. “It’s cool leading the nation in punting and everything, but it’s still early in the season. I always thought that my average should be 48 or 50 (yards per punt), and it’s kind of the expectation I’ve had on myself.”

Along with his average of 48 yards per punt, Epperson also set a WSU top-10 record for his 74-yard punt during the football game versus BYU.

Epperson is aware of the attention he is receiving for his success, but he said he understands that he needs to continue to play at the level he has set in the first three games this season.

“I don’t really think too much about it as far as that goes,” Epperson said, “because that can get to your head. I mean, I want to go out there and kick the ball 70 yards every time.”

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