Northern Illinois University punter and Ray Guy Award semifinalist Tyler Wedel earned Mid-American Conference West Division Special Teams Player of the Week accolades following his performance in the Huskies’ 21-14 win at Ohio, the league announced Monday.
On a cold and windy night in Athens, Wedel punted six times for a 42.8-yard average and forced Ohio to start inside its 20-yard line three times, with two of his kicks downed inside the 10-yard line. Wedel had a pair of 50 yard punts in the game, but his day also included a 27-yard punt that was fair caught inside the 20 yard line.
The McFarland, Wis. native once again did not have a touchback in the game and has now punted 50 times on the season without putting a ball into the endzone.
On the year, he has punted 50 times for a 41.9-yard average with 13 punts of 50 yards or longer. His punts have forced opponents to start inside their own 20-yard line 21 times and inside their own 10 14 times. NIU ranks 15th in the country and leads the MAC in net punting with a 40.2-yard average, and opponents are averaging less than four yards on the 16 punts they have managed to return. The Huskies’ punt return defense ranks 10th in the country.
“Tyler has become a weapon for us,” NIU head coach Rod Carey said last week. “What he’s been able to do punting the ball has played a huge part in field position and that’s been really important, especially these last couple of games.”
It is Wedel’s second MAC West Player of the Week award this season, and marks the second-straight week a Huskie has picked up the Special Teams award. Freshman Christian Hagan took home the same honor after making a pair of field goals against Toledo. Wedel also won the award after making a pair of field goals and handling punting chores in NIU’s win at UNLV in September.
NIU (9-2, 6-1 MAC) takes on Western Michigan (8-3, 6-1 MAC) in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Friday, Nov. 28, in the 2014 regular season finale for both teams. Kickoff is at 10 a.m. (CT) and the game will be televised on ESPNU. The Huskies can advance to the Marathon MAC Championship Game at Detroit’s Ford Field with a victory.
For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.