It is one thing to be among the best in college football at your position, but rare is the company when you can claim that about two positions.
Idaho junior Austin Rehkow is a premier talent at punter, and now he is getting it done as the Vandals’ kicker.
A finalist last season for the Ray Guy Award, handed to the nation’s top punter, Rehkow is also one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, honoring the best kicker.
“The biggest thing that’s impressed me about Austin is how well he’s improved on his field-goal kicking and his kickoffs,” coach Paul Petrino said. “He really worked hard this offseason on becoming a better, more accurate field-goal kicker.”
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Last Saturday against Appalachian State, Rehkow broke the Vandals’ single-season record with his 20th field goal. He’s 20-of-23 (86.9 percent), slightly behind the Idaho record of 87.5 percent set by Brian Decicio in 1985.
Rehkow made 21-of-36 field goals (58.3 percent) in his first two seasons. He also has been much-improved on kickoffs this season, sending 32-of-59 for touchbacks (28th nationally at 54.2 percent). In his first two seasons, he never was better than 65th, with 30 of his 100 kickoffs resulting in touchbacks.
He’s on pace to be in the top five nationally for the third straight season in punting average, with a 46.0-yard average on 44 punts. The Vandals are 11th in FBS in red-zone scoring (92.3 percent), with field goals on 13-of-39 opportunities. Though naturally the team would prefer six points, it’s comforted to know Rehkow will in all likelihood deliver three.
“I think it helps you a lot, it makes sure you don’t come away with nothing,’’ Petrino said.
Idaho at Auburn
▪ When: 2 p.m. Saturday
▪ Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,541, grass), Auburn, Ala.
▪ TV: SEC Network
▪ Radio: KFXD (630 AM)
▪ Records: Idaho 3-7 overall, Auburn 5-5
▪ Series: Auburn leads 1-0 (Tigers won 30-23 in Auburn in 1999)
▪ Vegas line: Auburn by 34