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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Fry puts best foot forward for special teams unit

The Falcons know that they cannot be a championship caliber team without reliable personnel on special teams. That is why Saturday’s trouncing of the Temple Owls, 70-7, was more important than just another blowout against an overmatched team.

The Falcons scored 10 touchdowns in the game and converted all 10 extra points. Usually, that isn’t something to get excited about, but uncertainty in the kicking game had plagued the Falcons throughout the first three games of the season.

Joe Timchenko started the season as the Falcon’s kicker, but he has been hampered by an injury and his productivity has slipped as a result. Timchenko has missed three extra point attempts this season.

The coaching staff decided to open up kicking duties for competition between Timchenko and punter Nate Fry.

Against Boise State it seemed that Fry had won the competition, but he too failed to convert his first extra point and Timchenko resumed the duties for the Falcons other two scores.

Saturday, however, Fry assumed all the kicking duties, from kickoffs, to punts, to extra points and he didn’t miss a beat.

“I thought Nate was outstanding,” said coach Gregg Brandon after the game. “His kickoffs were great, he had a real nice punt with some hang time, his extra points were perfect. He did a real nice job.”

Asked if the competition was over and if the staff had found their new kicker Brandon sarcastically replied, “What do you think?”

Fry said he was happy to have such a successful game, but admitted that it was easier to focus since the proficient Falcon offense was only forced to punt the ball twice in the game.

“When you get games like this it’s real easy. You can just focus on kicking in the first half because you know you’re going to score a lot of points and not punt a lot.”

Although he wasn’t forced to punt he shined in the other areas of the game. Not only did he convert all of his extra points, but in 12 attempts he is averaging over 61 yards on kickoffs and has the Falcons only two touchbacks of the season.

He also had a booming 53 yard punt against Temple that instilled a buzz in the homecoming crowd.

“Right after I hit it, I still had my head down and I knew it was good,” Fry said.

But Fry wanted to make sure that people knew that it wasn’t just him that succeeded on special teams Saturday,

He cited good containment on kicks by the Falcon defense and good kick and punt returns, highlighted by wide receiver Corey Partridge’s 79 yard punt return for a touchdown.

“We were very unhappy the way we played against Boise and how we’ve played all season and we took it upon ourselves as a special teams unit to pick up our game up a couple notches,” Fry said.

The team knows how important special teams is going to be in order to get an opportunity to play for a MAC Championship

“If the coaching staff asks me to do it I’ll be happy to do it to help the team. If Joe comes back and he’s healthy then more power to him,” Fry said.

Ultimately, while Fry has no problems pulling double duty, he hopes that the Falcons can raise the MAC trophy with both Fry and Timchenko healthy and contributing.

“I’d love to see Joe kick this season. Me and him are good friends and I know it is his senior year, too. If [this] is what the coaches feel like doing then I’ll do both.”

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