Go figure; the player with the least experience in Miami’s kicking game this season turned out to be the best one. And it wasn’t even really close. While fans bemoaned the performances of punters Zach Feagles and Jack Spicer, Bubba Baxa had a rock solid first year. He wasn’t perfect - converting 73% of his field goals, but he didn’t have a single “oh no” moment that could’ve cost the Canes a victory. And with as close and as ugly as some of the games this season played out, that’s a pretty lofty achievement for a true freshman.
Besides nailing 8-of-11 field goal attempts in 2018, Baxa sent 45-of-46 extra points sailing through the goal posts. Baxa’s three misses came against LSU, which hardly mattered at the end, FSU, almost a huge miss in a one point win and Duke, a rain-soaked game that Miami lost by eight in.
For a kid that came into 2018 with a 40% senior season kicking percentage, consider this year a success for Baxa. He’s got some solid accuracy but will need to work on improving that as he kicks from further out; he was 1-for-3 this past season on 40+ yard kicks.
Miami-Wisconsin is likely going to be a slugfest, as Miami’s offense has had few impressive showings and the Badgers will look to keep the ball on the ground with star RB Jonathan Taylor. The Hurricanes will need every point they can get and, with that being the case, Baxa will need to be accurate and ready to go at a moment’s notice. To this point, the freshman has seemed up to the challenge. Let’s hope it stays that way.