Player to watch: Quinn Sharp

QuinnSharp Kansas State hopes Quinn Sharp gets all kinds of playing time tomorrow. It also hopes he has an off day.

Those two statements don’t normally go together, but Sharp is an exception. Getting the sophomore punter on the field is a victory for opposing defenses. But it’s not always a happy occasion for opposing offenses.

Sharp, you see, is the nation’s No. 1 ranked punter. He has booted 29 punts this season, and has averaged 48.2 yards while doing so. He has a 78-yard punt to his name, and six of more than 60 yards. With that kind of power, Oklahoma State could be forced to punt from its own 20 and K-State’s offense could take over near its own goal line.

The Cowyboys think highly enough of Sharp that they advertise his accomplishments in the same breath as Justin Blackmon, Brandon Weeden and Kendall Hunter. Seriously, they all share a full-page poster in Oklahoma State’s weekly press release.

Kicker Dan Bailey is in that group as well. He is the nation’s leading kicker, and is a perfect 15-for-15 this season.

What is like to have the nation’s best kicking specialists on the same team?

“We saw that,” Sharp said. “Dan and I were talking in the locker room, we’re both currently ranked No. 1 in our spots. We definitely both worked hard to get to where we are at, and we’ve been enjoying the success so far.”

For Sharp, who kicked field goals and punts in high school, it means a lot.

“It shows that we’ve worked hard,” Sharp said. “Dan’s worked just as hard as I have; he’s doing great at his position. I’ve filled out my role as a punter and helping the team as much as possible. We’re both pulling our roles and it’s been a great year so far.”

For opposing teams, it means defending punts and kicks are stressful situations.