(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA — After leading the nation for much of his first season of college football, Montana freshman punter Patrick Rohrbach earned the Football Championship Subdivision's highest special teams honor Wednesday, being named FCS Punter of the Year by the Augusta Sports Council.
Rohrbach rose to the top as one of 10 finalists for the award, as voted on by a national body of FCS sports information directors, conference representatives, and sports writers.
Among the statistics used to identify the winner are net punt average, number of punts inside the 20, total yardage punted, average returned yardage, and percentage of punts not returned. The winner must also display team leadership, self-discipline and have a positive impact on the team's success.
Rohrbach finished the year with a Big Sky-best average of 45.2 yards per punt, the second-best season average in Grizzly program history. Montana's punt coverage unit also posted the second-best net punt average in the FCS this season at 41.52 yards. Together, Montana allowed opponents to average just 3.68 yards per punt return.
The Kalispell native totaled 2,170 yards on 48 punts in 2022, dropping 18 inside the opponent's 20 and booming 15 punts 50-plus yards with a long of 68 yards.
With such gaudy numbers, accolades have poured in for Rohrbach. On Dec. 7 it was announced that he finished ninth in the voting for this year's Stats Perform Jerry Rice Award given to the nation's top freshman player at any position.
HERO Sports named him to its freshman All-America team, and on Tuesday the Associated Press placed him on its All-America second team.
As the league leader in punting he earned first-team All-Big Sky honors at the conclusion of the regular season. He was also named Big Sky Player of the Week on Oct. 3 after Montana's win at Idaho State averaging 52.8 yards per punt, including his career-long of 68 yards.
In addition to the FCS Punter of the Year award, the Augusta Sports Council also presents the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the top punter in FBS football. As the punter of the Year, Rohrbach will be flown to Augusta, Georgia, in the new year for an awards banquet where he will receive the FCS trophy, and Adam Korsak of Rutgers will receive the Ray Guy Award.
Korsak posted an average of 44 yards per punt for the Scarlett Knights this year. Rohrbach's average of 45.2 would have placed him among the top 15 punters in the FBS, and is one of just two freshman among them.
This marks the second straight year a Grizzly has been named the FCS Punter of the Year. Brian Buschini, who now plays at Nebraska, also won the award in 2021.