Back Bobcat Block Party

Bobcat Block Party

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Texas State led the nation with eight blocked kicks or punts in 12 games in 2016, college football's best margin since 2011.

Texas State did something remarkable last season. The Bobcats led the nation with eight blocked kicks or punts in 12 games in 2016, college football's best margin since 2011. Amazingly, Texas State blocked at least one kick in all but one of their home games this past fall and recorded a block in seven different contests. Down the home stretch, the Bobcats blocked a kick in four of their final five outings to finish the year.     

The improvement was a dramatic turnaround as Texas State special teams did not record a single block the season prior and had compiled just two over the previous four years.

What else is notable is that each player that was in on a deflection is back for this season. Anthony D. Taylor was one of college football's most impactful specialists as he ranked third nationally with blocked punts against Appalachian State, Idaho and Incarnate Word. Ishmael Davis, known for his game-winning sack in the victory at Ohio, blocked two kicks last fall.   

MORE: Texas State's Tackling Machine

First-year special teams coordinator Jordan Peterson, also coaching outside linebackers, will have plenty of returning production with which to work.

Head coach Everett Withers has a track record of emphasizing special teams. In his first year at James Madison, the Dukes ranked third in the FCS with eleven total blocks: seven kicks and four punts. When Withers was assistant head coach at Ohio State from 2012-2103, the Buckeyes had the second-most blocks in power five football, with nine, in that span. Early in his career, Withers coached special teams at both Austin Peay and Southern Mississippi. 

Blocked kicks were quite common in the Sun Belt a year ago as Georgia Southern ranked second in the country with seven blocked kicks and Arkansas State ranked tied for sixth with five.

Looking ahead to this fall, the Bobcats are hoping that their block party is set to continue.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports