Brett Maher said the best part of trying something new with the Nebraska punting game Saturday night was that it turned out to be successful against Michigan.
In rugby style, as NU had done in some past games with Alex Henery, Maher would take the snap, roll to his right and punt on the run. The senior averaged 42.2 yards on his four kicks and Michigan finished with negative yardage overall on the two that it was able to return.
“It was just kind of a different angle that we thought we could have some success at, keep them off balance with, and it ended up working pretty well,” Maher said Monday.
Maher said Nebraska always practices it, but worked on it last week more than usual. On one, Wolverines returner Jeremy Gallon had to run to the left sideline to field the football, muffed it when he tried to catch it by his face mask and ended up losing 9 yards by the time it rolled out of bounds.
“The direction of the punt is different, the trajectory is different, the block point is different,” Maher said. “Everything is just different about it and it just gives them something different to think about and prepare for.”
Maher also made all three of his field goals in the 23-9 win over Michigan and was named Big Ten special teams player of the week. If running room were available, would the former Kearney High receiver think about taking off on any of those rugby punts?
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t want to come over to the sideline if I don’t get the first down.”