OFFICIAL GAME PROGRAM
DECEMBER 28, 2018
I owa State had another outstanding year from its
special teams units.
The Cyclones had newcomers at both placekicker
and punter in sophomores Connor Assalley and Corey Dunn.
Assalley, a native of Naperville, Ill., is a walk-on who won the
starting job at placekicker in fall camp. He started the season by
making his fi rst eight fi eld goal attempts, tying for the fi fth-best
string in school history. His 4-of-4 effort on fi eld goals vs. Akron
earned him Lou Groza Star of the Week accolades.
Assalley is 14-of-20 on fi eld goal attempts this season (70 pct.)
and leads the team in scoring with 76 points.
Dunn, who hails from Numurkah, Australia, is averaging 40.0 yards
per punt and has nine 50-yarders. He boomed a career-long 65-yarder
vs. West Virginia and has 20 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
The Cyclones boast one of the most electric kickoff returners in the nation in
sophomore Kene Nwangwu. The Frisco, Texas, native leads the Big 12 and ranks
13th nationally in kickoff return average at 26.7.
Nwangwu, who has eight returns of 40 yards or longer in his career, is the
school’s career leader in kickoff return average at 26.5. He had a season-long
58-yard return vs. Texas Tech.
Freshman Tarique Milton has done an outstanding job in his fi rst season as the
team’s punt returner, averaging 12.7 yards on 12 returns, the 10th-best season
total in school history. The Bradenton, Fla., native broke off a career-long 47-yard
return vs. Texas.
Iowa State leads the Big 12 and ranks 18th nationally in kickoff return defense,
averaging just 17.86 yards on 37 returned kicks. The Cyclone kickoff man Chris
Francis has totaled 16 touchbacks on the season.
T he Washington State special teams featured a number
of new faces in 2018 and under the direction of fi rstyear
special teams coordinator Matt Brock.
The Cougar kickoff units were two of the best units in the country
as the kickoff return team averaged 27.1 yards-per-return in 2018, the
second-best average in the Pac-12 Conference and fourth-highest
in the country. Headlining the kick return unit is redshirt-freshman
Travell Harris who averaged 27.8 yards-per-return in his fi rst collegiate
season, the top average in the Pac-12 and sixth-best return average in
the country. Earlier this month Harris was named All-Pac-12 honorable
mention as a returner. In the week three win over Eastern Washington,
Harris earned Pac-12 Conference Special Teams Player of the Week
after returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
In 2018, Washington State debuted a new punter in redshirtsophomore
Oscar Draguicevich III who produced big numbers in his fi rst season
with the Cougars. The native from Hutto, Texas, who was named a 2018 All-Pac-12
Conference honorable mention selection, led the Pac-12 and was sixth in the
country averaging 46.0 yards-per-punt, and recorded 12 punts of 50 or more
yards and put 13 punts inside the 20 with a long of 67.
The Cougars also saw a new face at placekicker as redshirt-freshman Blake Mazza
delivered a couple clutch fi eld goals in his fi rst season at WSU. The Plano, Texas,
native connected on 10 fi eld goals with a long of 50 coming at Southern California
and his 42-yarder with 19 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner at
No. 24 Stanford.
The kickoff coverage and punt return teams produced a couple highlights in
2018. The punt return team was highlighted by a big play at Oregon State, blocking
a punt and recovering for a touchdown. Individually, redshirt-junior Kainoa Wilson
had a spectacular season on special teams, leading the team with nine special
teams tackles to go along with one forced fumble, two recoveries including one
for a touchdown on a kickoff.
Oscar Draguicevich III