October 31, 2011
It's not quite punting to win, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders did unleash another memorable punt Saturday, and they did win. Here's video of the ferocious punt Chris Milo unleashed from his own 12-yard line Saturday, which carried all the way to the Hamilton 35 (63 yards) in the air, went over the head of Tiger-Cats returner Marcus Thigpen and rolled through the Hamilton end zone for a single point (one of the 19 the Roughriders scored to the Tiger-Cats' three), travelling a total distance of 108 yards.
Milo's punt tied a CFL record for the longest punt in league history, and it put him into a very exclusive club. The Toronto Argonauts' Zenon Andrusyshyn is the only other man ever to record a 108-yard punt in the CFL, and he did that way back on September 14, 1977 against Calgary. The next-closest two punters are also Argonauts, as Dave Mann hit one 102 yards in 1966 against Ottawa and Dean Dorsey (Andrusyshyn's replacement with Toronto) launched a punt 101 yards in 1982. The other man in the CFL's record book is also a Roughrider; Ken Clark hit one 101 yards in 1983. It's pretty impressive that Milo's punt represents something that hasn't been done in several decades, as a lot's happened in the CFL since then.
This isn't entirely unprecedented, as Milo (seen punting at right in an Aug. 12 game) has recorded the third-highest punting average of all CFL players this season, but 108 yards is a long way from even his impressive average of 43.6 yards per punt. How he got to this point is quite remarkable, too; Milo had an impressive college career as a punter and kicker with the Laval Rouge et Or, but was largely overlooked in this year's CFL draft and wasn't taken until Saskatchewan selected him in the fourth round, 30th overall. He started the season on the practice roster, only taking over the punting and placekicking jobs after import Eddie Johnson got hurt, but he's been pretty decent over the last 10 games, especially in the punting game. His kicking isn't quite at the elite level yet, but he's been solid there, and his 20-of-24 conversion rate on field goals is 83.3 per cent, fourth-best in the league.
Milo, a Montreal native, is fitting in nicely in Saskatchewan so far, to the degree that he's even started looking for offseason work and making plans to bring his fiancée to town. Milo may have a tough competition ahead to try and keep both roles next season, as the Riders also have Johnson and Luca Congi, but he's done well when given a chance. Highlights like this certainly won't hurt his cause, either.