Matt Fodge Wins Ray Guy Award

"I am honored tonight to present the Ray Guy Award to Matt Fodge, Oklahoma State," were the words that award namesake Ray Guy uttered that will change Matt Fodge's life forever. Fodge rose to his feet at Walt Disney World and was hugged by his mother, shook hands with his father, and got a wink from Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy. Fodge had just won the Heisman Trophy for college football punters.

Fodge walked to the stage after winning the award over Louie Sakoda of Utah and Pat McAfee of West Virginia and took the stage with ESPN college football personality Chris Fowler where he immediately explained that Fodge won the award on the quality of his work and not the quantity.

"Yeah, you know they were joking all season that they had to come over and wake me up on the bench when it was time to punt," said Fodge when Fowler kidded him about his lack of punts this season with only 31. "Sometimes it was the fourth quarter before I would be out there."

Fodge punted 31 times and averaged 44.1 yards a kick. He put 17 of his 31 punts inside the opponents 20-yard line and he had six punts that traveled more than 50 yards, including the second longest punt in the Big 12 this season that went 71 yards.

Even more important was that Fodge and the Cowboys punt coverage unit combined for a 42.9 yards net punt average and opponents punt return yardage totaled just 51 yards for a 1.6 yards per punt return average. Those are incredible numbers.

Fowler kept going with Fodge on stage shifting to Matt Fodge the virtual or cyber punter.

"You have the highest player rating of anybody on Oklahoma State," said Fowler of Fodge's rating on the NCAA 2009 video game. "Better than your roommate, quarterback Zac Robinson, better than Dez Bryant who is over there, and better than Kendall Hunter. You have to let them know that."

"They joked around with me before the season," responded Fodge. "They let me know it and it is a pretty cool deal I guess, but it is never good to be out there. It is good to be the Ray Guy Award winner."

After the awards show, televised nationally on ESPN, Fodge had this statement to the media.

"I really don't know what to say," started Fodge, who had gone to Orlando not expecting to win and just happy to be a finalist for the award he has great respect for. "I didn't have any kind of feeling going in, so it is really a great honor and surprise. This isn't possible without my teammates, my coaches, and my family, so I have to thank them. I'm flattered and I'm still kind of speechless right now. it is a great honor."

Fodge is the first Oklahoma State punter to win the Ray Guy Award and the fourth Big 12 player to win it. He joins a legacy of great punters at Oklahoma State that include the likes of Bob Fenimore; Jim Benien, who led the nation in 1971; Cliff Parsley, who punted in the NFL; Greg Ivy, who punted in the NFL; Scott Tyner; Cole Farden; and Cary Blanchard, who kicked and punted in the NFL and was an All-Pro.

Fodge averaged a career best 44.9 yards punting as a sophomore in the 2006 season. He is a four-year starter and letterman and will receive his academic diploma Saturday at graduation.

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