Iowa State vs Texas football: Five players to watch on special teams


Iowa State’s placekicking continues to shine, but both punters have exceeded expectations in taking over when both the Cyclones and Texas Longhorns have struggled offensively.

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  • Cole Netten (Iowa State — #1, 6-foot-1, 214 lbs., So)

The second-year kicker has made all seen field goal attempts this season, and all have them been from 32 or beyond (two from 42+ against Iowa). Netten has been as reliable as any kicker in the country, but hopefully the offense doesn’t have to rely on him like they did in the first half against Toledo.


With a struggling offense, Texas has had to rely on their punter, and he’s delivered. Out of 40 punts this season, 16 of them found themselves inside the 20 yard line while just 2 of them have gone for a touchback. 9 of them have been booted for over 50 yards.

On the flipside, Iowa State continues flip the field with their freshman punter. Some haven’t been belted as sharply as others, but Downing hasn’t ran into much trouble nor had many typical freshman errors. Out of 30 punts, he’s smacked six of them inside the 20 yard line with zero touchbacks, and has had seven go over the 50-yard mark.


Unless West’s injury is still nagging, expect to see him back in on punt return dutiesfor Iowa State. So far this season, he’s sporting a 23.6 yard return average and still has that lone runback against Kansas State.

Johnson isn’t listed on the depth chart, but he’s been the deadliest kick returner averaging 19.1 yards on 10 attempts. While he’s not an explosive returner, he’s able to consistently put the Longhorns in a good position.