Since 2013, there have been two punts in the NFL that have traveled over 80 yards.
In the space of two weeks, San Diego state punter Matt Araiza matched that statistic. He had an 86-yard punt against San Jose State and an 81-yard punt against the Air Force. His volley against the Air Force – from his own end zone – traveled 84 yards into the air from where he was standing.
Think about it; his kick traveled 84 meters in the air.
The ball flew well over the head of the Air Force punt returner and landed on the Air Force 18-yard line before coming to rest and crashing into the line of 12 yards from the Air Force.
Araiza’s performance against the Air Force earned her the Gorilla Glue Toughest Player on Planet Earth for the week thanks to the famed Rich Eisen Show.
âThat one was 75 in the air from the line of scrimmage, and I’m thinking 84 from where I was standing,â Araiza said during her appearance on The Rich Eisen Show.
Junior Matt Araiza is set to have the best season ever by a college bettor and is doing so in his first season as a full time bettor on the team and while taking care of the chores of kick off and kick off. He’s one of only four FBS players to do all three for their teams.
He leads all FBS schools with an average punt of 51.95 yards on 56 punt attempts (the season record is 51.0 set by Braden Mann in 2018). In nine games this season, he’s had 15 punts over 60 yards, an NCAA record and 30 punts over 50 yards, including two outside the NCAA record.
Araiza is the first player to have a punt over 80 yards and a field goal over 50 in the same game, and he has done so in consecutive weeks.
âThe kicking game and some of the things Matt (does), let’s call it what it is, is pretty amazing when you hit a ball over 80 yards in the air. You don’t see that kind of change of position on the pitch very often, âhead coach Brady Hoke said of Araiza. “He’s the MVP as far as I’m concerned right now with the way he’s played and what he’s done.”
Kickers and punters often don’t receive the same recognition and respect as competent players on the team. In this squad, however, Araiza has proven to be just as important as any other player on the squad and hopes to help special teams players across the country gain more recognition.
âThere is definitely a lot of positional bias,â Araiza said. âIn terms of the amount of scholarships specialists get, that’s less than any other position in the field. We are usually chosen last for a lot of things. To be a part of this narrative that kickers and bettors can be as important as anyone else on the pitch is huge to me.
Araiza’s play this year earned him national recognition. He was recently named to ESPN’s All-America midseason squad.
Former NFL players have taken note, including former punter and Indianapolis Colts radio show host Pat McAfee. He tweeted Araiza’s punt against the Air Force with a caption that read: “An absolute PISS MISSILE from Araiza .. this guy is a STALLION #ForTheBrand”
âIt was pretty cool,â Araiza said after being mentioned by McAfee. âIt all makes me laugh. A lot of people are really creative on Twitter, especially some of the adjectives he used.
Araiza attributes his success to his off-season program and the work he did with his coaches and said he didn’t attend many kicking camps in high school or while in SDSU .
The Aztec soccer team still have at least four games to play this season, as they have already crossed the threshold to become eligible for bowling. They hope to play a fifth game and be able to play for the Mountain West Conference Championship.
This gives Araiza plenty of games to work his way into the NCAA record books as the top bettor in college history.