CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids Xavier boys' soccer team immediately smothered any substate suspense.
As a result, they are on the cusp of yet another state-tournament berth.
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The Big Ten cited Iowa senior punter Ron Coluzzi as its Special Teams Player of the Week this week, and with good reason.
What Coluzzi has done over his first four games as a Hawkeye has been nothing short of terrific.
His punting average of 43.3 yards for 20 kicks is very good, but barely tells his story. Only two of those punts were returned, for a total of zero yards.
Just six teams in the nation have allowed fewer punt returns, and two of them have played three games instead of the four Iowa has played.
It adds up to Iowa being 12th in the nation in net punting, and that’s a very good place to be. You’re winning the field position game, which certainly was a difference-maker in the Hawkeyes’ 14-7 victory at Rutgers last Saturday.
OK, let’s look at kickoffs. Coluzzi has kicked off 22 times. All but four resulted in touchbacks. Only three teams in the nation have had fewer kickoffs returned.
Again, field position.
All of this from a guy who was playing for Central Michigan last season and chose to walk on at Iowa as a graduate transfer with nothing guaranteed him when it came to playing time.
The Hawkeyes have tried just one field goal this year, which freshman Keith Duncan made from 22 yards out in the first game. Though Duncan made a bunch of bombs as a high school senior last year, my guess is that if Iowa tries one from 45 or 50 yards, Coluzzi will be the man.