Brett Maher Returns to Form; Earns Big Ten Honors
The Nebraska Cornhuskers have enjoyed a slew of amazing kickers over the years. After Alex Henery made a near-seamless transition into the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, Brett Maher appeared to pick up where Henery left off in 2011 converting 19 of 23 field goal attempts with a long of 51 yards.
Hitting only four of his eight attempts through Nebraska’s non-conference schedule, Husker fans wondered where the clutch kicker they knew had gone. It appears the Kearney, Nebraska native has returned with a vengeance.
Since conference play began, he’s converted all but one attempt in nine tries with his 51-yard best in that span splitting the uprights in Nebraska’s 23-9 victory over the Michigan Wolverines this past weekend. When combining his 11 points that contributed to the Big Red’s victory along with his daily punting chores (42.2 yards per punt average; two downed inside the Michigan 20), it’s no wonder he was named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week.
The honor marks Maher’s fifth since Nebraska joined the conference and ties the most special teams kudos bestowed upon one individual in conference history. It’s safe to say that he has a legitimate chance of breaking that record due to pulling double duty for Bo Pelini.
Nebraska’s next opponent, the Michigan State Spartans, have lost three games this season by three points or less meaning Maher could prove invaluable on the Cornhuskers’ trip to East Lansing. Will Maher’s hot streak continue through the remainder of the season? Nebraska fans seem to be settling back into a serene feeling when a 50-plus yard field goal is necessary. That’s not a good sign for the opposition.
Brandon Cavanaugh is a college football columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America. Feel free to follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation