By LARRY VAUGHT
Want to know how to make Kentucky junior punter Max Duffy mad?
Easy. Just break off a 42-yard punt return like Terry Williams of Tennessee-Martin did Saturday after a 66-yard punt in the first half.
The only reason Williams didn’t score was because of a jarring tackle by Duffy that may have been the best hit of UK’s 50-7 victory over Tennessee-Martin that made the Cats bowl eligible for the fourth straight year.
“I was a little bit annoyed that he got a return because I kicked it to the three-yard line and normally they don’t return that but yes, he’s a really good returner,” Duffy, who averaged 57.7 yards per punt on three kicks, said. “And we knew he was going to take a chance on us even though you know he’s from a little bit of a smaller school.
“We knew we had to do a good job and we might have missed one or two (tackles) at the start there and I probably wanted to defend my (return) stats a little bit and got after him and made sure I made the tackle. I don’t know if I would’ve gotten after him as hard if I didn’t want to defend my stat, so I made sure he couldn’t get the big return.”
The Aussie down under isn’t ready to overestimate his tackling skills.
“To be honest he probably should’ve taken it all the way (to the end zone),” Duffy said. “They had a couple of lead blockers that kind of ignored me, being the punter, so I passed him and made a tackle.
“I know all the people back home, especially my old teammates, are going to say that’s the first proper tackle I’ve made, so I know those texts are coming.”