Texas’ special teams unit has been key
to the Longhorns’ success throughout
the 2019 season.
Sophomore K Cameron Dicker has made 31 of his
42 career field goal attempts. He is 13-for-17 (76%)
on field goal tries in 2019. His 18 makes in 2018
were the most by a freshman in UT history. Dicker converted on two field goals,
including the game-winning 26-yard try as time expired, to help lift Texas to a
27-24 win over No. 16 Kansas State. It was the Longhorns’ second-straight outing
at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium that Dicker capped with a game-winning
field goal as time-expired. He also did so with a 33-yard effort against Kansas to
give the Horns a 50-48 win. Dicker is the only player in Texas history to record
two walk-off plays during their career, both of which have come this season. The
sophomore’s clutch kick against K-State marked his third career game-winning
field goal. His first was a 40-yard effort with nine seconds left that gave Texas
a 48-45 win over No. 7 Oklahoma in the 2018 AT&T Red River Showodwn Dicker
made both of his field goal tries against No. 6 Oklahoma in this year’s edition
AT&T Red River Showdown. He booted a 57-yard field goal against Rice on Sept.
14. It was the longest made kick by a Longhorn since Jeff Ward’s 57-yarder at
Texas A&M on Nov. 28, 1985. It is also tied for the longest field goal in the FBS this
season. Illinois’ James McCourt and Penn State’s Jordan Stout both also made
57-yard tries on Sept. 14.
In the return game, D’Shawn Jamison has already proven that he can break
a big one at any time. Earlier this season against Rice, he returned a kickoff 98
yards for a touchdown, the first by a Longhorn since D.J. Monroe in 2012. Jamison
The Utes entered the 2019 season with the rare challenge
of replacing both a Lou Groza Award-winning
kicker and Ray Guy Award-winning punter. Matt Gay
and Mitch Wishnowsky were both drafted by NFL teams
and are enjoying successful rookie seasons, which opened
the door for new talent to follow their path in Salt Lake City.
A pair of freshmen stepped in and stabilized both units,
providing a strong complement to the Utes’ highly ranked offense and defense.
Kicker Jadon Redding has been good on 9 of 12 field goal attempts and perfect
on all 55 PAT attempts to account for 82 points on the year. His longest attempt
was good from 42 yards. Punter Ben Lennon placed nearly 50-percent of his
punts inside opponents’ 20-yard line (18 of 37) and registered just one touchback.
He had just seven punts returned, for an average of 4.7 yards, and 21 of
his 37 punts resulted in fair catches. Two of his punts traveled 50 yards or longer,
including a long of 62.
Senior Demari Simpkins has made an impact in the punt return game with an
average close to 10 yards per return (9.6). He scored a touchdown on a 66-yard
return in the regular-season finale against Colorado, when Utah clinched the
Pac-12 South title. The Utes have returned 25 punts on the season and allowed
just seven returns by opponents, yielding just 4.7 yards per return.
New kickoff rules limit the number of returns in the game, but senior wide
receiver Derrick Vickers has made the most of his team-leading five returns by
compiling an average of 23.6 yards per return. Conversely, the coverage unit has
been on point this season, allowing an average of just 19.0 yards per return, and
no return longer than 33 yards.
previously recorded a 90-yard punt return touchdown at Kansas State on Sept.
29, 2018. He joined Raymond Clayborn, Quan Cosby, Jordan Shipley and Selvin
Young as the only Longhorns to return both a punt and kickoff for a touchdown
in UT history. The sophomore defensive back also continued to flash his return
skills against Kansas on Oct. 19, when he recovered a blocked PAT and returned
it 90-plus yards for a defensive two-point conversion.
Texas ranks 10th nationally, and second in the Big 12, with an average return
of 25.2 yards on kickoffs this season. Defensively, the Longhorns are stout in
the punt game, allowing only 3.6 yards per return – the 14th-best mark in the
country in 2019.
40 DECEMBER 31, 2019 / OFFICIAL GAME PROGRAM