Syracuse punter Riley Dixon appreciates the support he receives from the fan base

Syracuse senior punter Riley Dixon has become a fan favorite for his fakes, strong punting, and social media Heisman campaign. He discusses all of that and more inside.

Four times in the last two years it has happened. A seemingly innocuous special teams play, a punt or a field goal, ends up in a fake that surprises the opponent and gives Syracuse a first down. Each time, centered around senior punter Riley Dixon.

"Coach has got a good design," Dixon said. "Put me in good hands. I just go out there and do what they tell me. It's happened to work out in the past."

There was the fake field goal in overtime against Villanova in the 2014 season opener, which saw Dixon fire a game winning touchdown pass to Kendall Moore. Or later in the same year when he ran 42-yards for a first down against Notre Dame. Fast forward to 2015, and Dixon has added two more to his resume.

Against LSU, Dixon completed a fake where he lined up as the kicker on a long field goal attempt. The Tigers seemingly did not notice, and the ball was snapped directly to the Orange punter. He raced up the sideline, hurdled a defender, and picked up the first down.

Last week against South Florida, Dixon was up to his old tricks once again. This time, he lined up in his traditional holder role. But when the ball was snapped to him, he stood up and took off to pick up a first down, leaping over a would-be tackler once again. 

In each of these plays, the opposition seemed completely shocked by the Dixon fake. The question is why? Especially USF, who should have been aware of this possibility during game prep. Yet, they were, once again, fooled.

"I can't really explain that," Dixon said. "I can't really speak for other teams. But the good schemes are put in place against a field goal block team or a punt rush team. Good schemes are working out alright."

It's for plays like that, among other things, that have allowed the #Dixon4Heisman campaign to become a favorite among Syracuse fans. During every game, the hashtag is a favorite on social media. The social media bandwagon has made Dixon one of the fan favorites on the Orange roster. 

It is something the senior has noticed and appreciates.

"The support means a lot to me," Dixon said. "I really appreciate it from everybody. I'm just going out there trying to help the team the best I can and be the best punter I can."

How does all of the attention and social media fun impact his approach to the game?

"I'm just going to keep punting footballs man," Dixon said. "That's what I do."


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