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  • Writer's pictureNoah Beausoleil

UFL Special Teams Power Rankings - A Week 7 Review

The UFL Special Teams Power Rankings are back with a new format for your viewing pleasure! Let's discuss the performances of each unit in this week's review;

 

Special Teams Player of the Week

JJ Molson - USFL Conference

After not scoring a single point through nearly 2 quarters of football, Molson was called upon with 3 seconds left in the first half for a 48-yard field goal attempt. He nailed the kick, putting the Roughnecks on the board with some momentum heading into the second half. In the third quarter, Molson would make a 31-yard field goal to take the lead. About 4 minutes later, he would attempt a 62-yard field goal, the longest of his professional career. Molson showed off his power and accuracy, sending the ball straight between the goalposts with room to spare. He finished his night with a short, 21-yard field goal, accounting for all of the Houston Roughnecks' 12 points and keeping them competitive throughout the game.

 

Ryan Santoso - XFL Conference

The San Antonio Brahmas were locked in a stalemate with the Roughnecks through the first quarter of the game when the Brahmas got down to the Houston 8-yard line. After a quick 3-and-out, Ryan Santoso kicked a 26-yard field goal to take the lead. The Roughnecks would respond with field goals of their own, making the score 12-3 heading into the fourth quarter. A touchdown and 3-point conversion later, the Brahmas tied the game and gave the ball back to Santoso, who kicked off 78 yards to the Houston returner. The San Antonio Coverage Team forced a fumble and put the ball back into the offence's hands. The Brahmas only got to the 33-yard line, forcing a long field goal attempt. Unfazed, Santoso drilled a 51-yard field goal, securing the win for his team!

 

Kickers

  Kickers went 15/17 on field goals (88.2%) this week, slightly above the season average of 87.2%. There was a season-high of 5 field goals over 50 yards, including multiple attempts over 60 yards. Here are the UFL Week 7 Kicker Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. Jake Bates (MICH) had a stellar game, going 3/3 on field goals and improving his outdoor record to 4/6. His longest field goal of the night was a 51-yard attempt.

  2. Andre Szmyt (STL) completed both of his field goal attempts, including a career-long 61-yard field goal. He now holds the third-longest field goal in UFL history and has made a 50+ yard field goal in each of his last four games.

  3. Matt Coghlin (MEM) made his lone field goal attempt from 54 yards out and now leads the league in field goal completion percentage at 92.3%.

Slip-ups;

  1. Matt McCrane (DC) went 1/2 this week, missing a 43-yard field goal. This marks his third consecutive game with a missed field goal and his second miss under 50 yards.

  2. Ramiz Ahmed (BHAM) is in the same boat, going 1/2 this week, missing a 41-yard field goal, and recording his second game in a row with a missed field goal under 50 yards.

 

Punters

  Punters averaged 45.4 yards and 38 net yards per punt across 26 attempts this week, both significantly higher than the season average through 7 weeks. They managed to keep 6 punts inside the 20-yard line (23%), including four that remained inside the 10-yard line. Kick power was on display with over 30% of punts travelling further than 50 yards. Additionally, 6 punts that travelled out of bounds, matching the season-high seen in Weeks 4 and 6. Here are the UFL Week 7 Punter Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. Sterling Hofrichter (STL) punted 3 times for an average of 47.7 yards and 45.3 net yards. He had 2 punts remaining inside the 20-yard line, with 1 landing inside the 10-yard line. After a rough Week 6, he returns to form, leading the UFL in net average, punts inside the 20-yard line, and punts inside the 10-yard line.

  2. Paxton Brooks (DC) punted 4 times for an average of 42.8 yards per punt. He didn't concede a single return yard, forcing 2 fair catches and having 2 punts downed by the DC coverage unit. This resulted in his best statistical performance of the year, averaging 42.8 net yards per punt with 2 punts inside the 20-yard line.

  3. Matt White (MEM) punted twice for an average of 42.5 yards and 43 net yards per punt. He is one of the few former USFL punters to excel under the XFL-style punt rules, with 39% of his punts remaining inside the 20-yard line while only recording 3 touchbacks.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Marquette King (ARL) punted 2 times for an impressive average of 49.5 yards per punt but struggled to keep the ball in play. Both of his punts resulted in touchbacks, hurting his net average, which was just 24.5 net yards per punt.

  2. Brock Miller (MICH) averaged 47.8 yards and 41.6 net yards per punt, including a perfect punt that was downed on the opponent's 1-yard line. Although these numbers look good on paper, they could have been even better if 2 of his punts hadn't resulted in touchbacks. Miller has now recorded 4 touchbacks over his last 11 punts.

 

Kickoff Specialists

  There were 38 kickoffs this week, with specialists averaging 68.4 yards per attempt, which nearly matches the league average of 68.2 yards per kickoff through 7 weeks of play. A total of 19 kickoffs (50%) that travelled further than 70 yards, which is slightly above average. Additionally, 8 kickoffs (21%) remained inside the 30-yard line. Here are the UFL Week 7 Kickoff Specialist Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. Ryan Santoso (SA) kicked off 3 times, averaging 73.7 yards this week, with all 3 of his kickoffs travelling further than 70 yards. His 78-yard kickoff, which resulted in the opposing returner fumbling the ball, was key to the Brahmas' victory.

  2. Jonathan Garibay (ARL) averaged 71.6 yards per kickoff, with 6 of his 7 kickoffs (86%) travelling further than 70 yards, giving his team great field position all game long. He also had 2 kickoffs (28.6%) remaining inside the 30-yard line.

  3. JJ Molson (HOU) had 4 kickoffs, averaging 74 yards per attempt, with 3 kickoffs (75%) travelling further than 70 yards. He also kept 1 kickoff (25%) inside the 30-yard line.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Jake Bates (MICH) kicked off 6 times for an average of just 61.5 yards per attempt, marking the first time his average has dipped below 70 yards since week 2. This was also his first week without a 70+ yard kickoff.

  2. Sterling Hofrichter (STL) took over kickoff duties this week, averaging 71 yards across 5 attempts, including 3 kickoffs (60%) that were longer than 70 yards. Unfortunately, he also recorded his second kickoff out of bounds in just 9 attempts.

 

Long Snappers

  There were 25 long snaps that were shown in highlight packages this week, the most we've seen all season. These included 17 field goal snaps, of which 13 were Strikes (76%), and 8 punt snaps, of which 6 were Strikes (75%). This gives the long snappers a collective Strike percentage of just over 75%, which is lower than the season average of 84%. Additionally, 2 long snappers contributed in coverage, each recording an assisted tackle. Here are the UFL Week 7 Long Snapper Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. Jordan Ober (MICH) was perfect in Week 7, with 3 field goal snaps and 2 punt snaps recorded as Strikes. He continues to excel in high-pressure situations and has also performed well in coverage.

  2. Alex Matheson (STL) had all 4 of his snaps recorded as Strikes, including 2 field goal snaps and 2 punt snaps. More contribution in coverage would be ideal, but if he maintains this level of performance, he could reach the top spot in the Power Rankings by season's end.

  3. Ryan Langan (BHAM) had 2 field goal snaps and 1 punt snap, all listed as Strikes this week, continuing his impressive performance. He has recorded just 3 Balls across 21 highlight snaps.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Logan Klusman (HOU) struggled this week, with just 3 of his 5 highlighted long snaps being recorded as Strikes. He was drifting up this week, with 1 field goal snap and 1 punt snap being sent above the Strike Zone. This marks his first missed snaps of the season.

  2. Antonio Ortiz (ARL) was highlighted only once this week, with his lone field goal snap travelling too close to the ground and being recorded as a Ball.

 

Kickoff Returners

  There were 37 kickoff returns in Week 7, with returners averaging 24.1 yards per return, the lowest weekly average all season. Although 8 returns (22%) travelled more than 30 yards, there were also 3 fumbles, the highest number in a single week. Here are the UFL Week 7 Kickoff Returner Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. Titus Swen (MEM) continues to dominate, returning 7 kickoffs for a total of 199 yards, averaging about 28 yards per attempt. He had 2 returns over 30 yards (29%) and recorded a new career-long of 38 yards.

  2. Joe Powell (ARL) had his first return as a Renegade in 2024, covering 41 yards, the longest return in Week 7.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Juwan Manigo (ARL) averaged 23.3 yards across 3 kickoff returns this week, including a long of 31 yards. He might've had a better stat line if he didn't also record his first muffed kickoff.

  2. Galvin Holmes (MICH) returned 3 kickoffs for a total of just 37 yards, with a longest return of 20 yards. He struggled fielding a kickoff, causing the Panthers to start their opening drive on their 6-yard line. Galvin Holmes was released earlier this week and Terry Wright has been signed to give the Panthers their first true threat at the Returner position.

 

Punt Returners

  There were 12 punt returns this week, with returners averaging a season-low of just 5.1 yards per return. Only 2 punt returns (17%) travelled more than 15 yards, and there were 3 fumbles, all recovered by the opposing team. Here are the UFL Week 7 Punt Returner Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. Darrius Shepherd (STL) has returned after missing 2 games due to injury, returning 1 punt for 16 yards and reclaiming his spot as the best punt returner in the UFL.

  2. Marquez Stevenson (SA) had 3 punt returns, averaging 9.7 yards per attempt, with a long of 16 yards.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Juwan Manigo (ARL) appears on the Slip-ups list again after returning 2 punts for -3 yards, including this muffed punt that was recovered by the opponents.

  2. Chris Rowland (DC) only recorded 2 yards on 2 punt returns this week. He also muffed a punt leading to the opposing team recovering the ball.

  3. Isaiah Zuber (BHAM) couldn't record any return yards across his 2 punt returns and was the third Punt Returner to have trouble fielding a punt, resulting in a turnover.

 

Coverage Teams

  Coverage Teams across the league performed well this week, allowing an average of just 5.1 yards on 12 punt returns and 21.4 yards on 37 kickoff returns. There were 7 penalties for a total of 55 yards, which inflates the average yards allowed per kick to 20.6 yards. Additionally, another punt was blocked, bringing the total number of blocked kicks to 8 through 7 weeks of play. Here are the UFL Week 7 Coverage Team Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. The St. Louis Battlehawks allowed an average of 2.3 yards on 3 punt returns and 27 yards across 4 kickoffs. They recorded their third blocked punt of the season and continue to lead the league in blocked kicks through 7 weeks.

  2. The DC Defenders made a strong comeback after struggling the past 2 weeks, allowing an average of just 12.3 yards on 3 kickoffs, the lowest we've seen in a single game all season.


  Slip-ups;

  1. The Michigan Panthers were handed 2 penalties on special teams this week, totalling 15 yards. This marks their third consecutive week with a penalty after not receiving any through the first 4 weeks of the season.

 

Individual ST Stats

  Here's who is making an impact on Special Teams;

Here are your most penalized Special Teams Players;

 

Holders

  Here are the UFL Week 7 Holder Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. Paxton Brooks (DC) wrangled in a low snap this week and had the ball where it needed to be despite McCrane missing the kick. He has faced the most challenges holding on field goals and consistently gives his kicker the best chance with errant snaps.

  2. Marquette King (ARL) handled a low snap on this field goal attempt, setting his kicker up for success.

  3. Brad Wing (SA) faced his first challenge as a holder with a snap that was inside. He managed it without issue, ensuring a successful attempt.

 

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