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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA’s special teams duo pays tribute to Paris terrorist attacks

Arizona+kicker+Casey+Skowron+%2841%29+waves+the+French+flag+while+Arizona+punter+Drew+Riggleman+%2839%29+hoists+the+U.S.+flag+before+the+Wildcats+win+over+Utah+at+Arizona+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+14.+The+special+teams+duo+has+had+great+success+this+season+and+were+honored+for+Senior+Night.+

Arizona kicker Casey Skowron (41) waves the French flag while Arizona punter Drew Riggleman (39) hoists the U.S. flag before the Wildcats’ win over Utah at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 14. The special team’s duo has had great success this season and were honored for Senior Night.

Where one goes, the other follows. But this dynamic duo may have never even met each other. They may not be the next Batman and Robin, but the tandem may have been the biggest reason why Arizona shocked Utah Saturday in double overtime. 

Arizona football special teams have had two consistencies over the past two seasons. Those consistencies include senior punter Drew Riggleman and senior kicker Casey Skowron.

Riggleman, the 6-foot-2 local from Tucson, walked onto the Arizona Wildcats team as a freshman after attending UA games with his family growing up. 

As a redshirt sophomore, Riggleman was the only punter on the Arizona roster and therefore won the starting job. 

In his three years since claiming the starting role, Riggleman’s longest career punt has been 70 yards.

Throughout this season, he has punted 42 times, averaging 44.6 yards. 

But no punt was bigger than Riggleman’s shot in the fourth quarter against the Utes, when he pinned Utah inside the five-yard line and forced them to take a knee to force overtime. 

Riggleman embraced senior day from the very start. As his name was called over the Arizona Stadium loud speaker, he refused to walk out until his entire family was by his side. Justly so, Riggleman held up a toddler, who wore his helmet, and carried him out to the field. One point Riggleman. 

Skowron found himself in a similar position, sort of. The 5-foot-10 kicker out of Phoenix served as a team manager to the Arizona soccer team before walking onto the Wildcats in 2012. The past two seasons, Skowron has been mostly consistent in his role. 

Sure, the death threats following his miss against USC spoke loads to his career, eventually earning him redemption against Washington shortly thereafter. 

But when the UA needed it most, Skowron delivered. He notched three field goals against Utah, his longest coming from 47 yards. Even when the pressure was on in the first overtime, Skowron was confident. 

“It’s amazing to come back after a rough few weeks,” Skowron said. “Going three for three isn’t too shabby either. I had faith in myself and in the training that I’ve had and I was ready to execute.”

Skowron has made 14 of 17 kicks this season and has missed just two extra point attempts out of 51. 

In true dynamic duo fashion, Riggleman and his buddy Skowron pulled one of Arizona’s most iconic images of the 2015 season. As the Wildcats ran out onto the field during pregame in the midst of blue and white smoke, Riggleman held the U.S. flag, while Skowron held the flag of France. 

Just one day prior, Paris had been ripped by multiple terrorist attacks. According to CNN, at least 128 have died in the attacks at this time, along with hundreds of injuries. 

“Drew just kind of came up to me actually before the game and said ‘Hey, we are taking out the flags and you got the flag from France,’” Skowron said. “That was an honor to be selected for that. It was a big honor to carry that out.” 

What an honor it was. An iconic image that has carried itself all over the Internet as Skowron and Riggleman held the flags next to each other, facing the ZonaZoo around the 50-yard line. 

For the dynamic duo, the game would mark their final time at Arizona Stadium and one of their final times in a Wildcat uniform. 

Riggleman and Skowron have provided the humor and spark that this team needed. Both have been chewed out by fans in the past for whatever reasons. But on Saturday they ignited the Arizona spark that the Wildcats so desperately needed. 

Two walk-ons leaving Arizona Stadium one final time in front of fans. The class clowns of the Arizona football team. The duo who pleaded with their coach to represent the team at a Pac-12 Media Day. Their names are Skowron and Riggleman: two of the most unique special teams players in UA history. 


Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.


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