Jack Cantele Named Big 12 Special Teams Player Of The Week


Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

On a day when TCU kicker Jaden Oberkrom threatened to overshadow anything the Wildcats did with a 56-yard field goal to put the Horned Frogs up 31-30 with just two minutes remaining, it was Kansas State’s kicker that was named the Big 12’s co-Special Teams Player of the Week. Cantele, who had his most productive game of the season in his first year replacing older brother Anthony Cantele, was able to boot a 41-yard field goal through the uproots with under ten seconds left to play. It left TCU with just enough time to field his kickoff without the opportunity to run a final play, as K-State moved to 6-4 on the year and claimed bowl eligibility.

Cantele, a sophomore, connected on four field goals on the day, and, according to Big12Sports.com, knocked in the first last-second game-winning field goal for Kansas State since 1980. Let that sink in a bit for perspective – it’s been 33 years since another kicker did that for the Wildcats (it was also Cantele’s first game-winner of his life). He also provided boots of 23, 31, and 34 yards on the day.

Despite the consistency of his older brother and accuracy displayed during the team’s scrimmage, the coaching staff has appeared hesitant to utilize Cantele this year. With Saturday’s performance he improved to 11/13 on the year – good for 84.6 percent. He has played in five games in which K-State did not attempt a field goal, and his season long is 44 yards against Iowa State.

Cantele shared special teams honors with Oklahoma’s Jalen Saunders. The senior punt returner had a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown that sparked a Sooners team having trouble with Iowa State. The Wildcats will see Saunders when Bob Stoops’ squad comes to Manhattan to play this weekend.