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Wake Forest vs. NC State: ACC's most anticipated punting duel nears

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Mike Ehrmann

When Wake Forest and NC State meet on the field this weekend, all eyes will be on their respective punters, who are two of the best and most prolific in the business. This titanic matchup is certain to lend well-earned bragging rights and respect to the victor; the game itself should prove secondary as Wil Baumann and Alexander Kinal trade blows.

Let's go deeper into the matchup.

Alexander "The Adelaide Cannonade" Kinal

Bio
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 205
Class: Junior
Major: Political Science

Stats
Yards per punt: 44.1
Punts per game: 6.7
Fair catch percentage: 25.0
Punts inside 20: 20
Punt of 50+ yards: 16
Season long: 73 yards
2014 punting yardage: 2,646
Career punting yardage: 9,926
Career punt total: 241

Kinal's Australian style has been a problem for punt returners throughout his career. There is a certain spin associated with kicks by punters born in the northern hemisphere, but the spin on Kinal's kicks is just the opposite, creating the potential for any number of complications for an unsuspecting return man.

Kinal is fourth in the ACC and 19th nationally in average yards per punt this season, and only three FBS punters average more punts per game. With another year of eligibility remaining, he is well on pace to break ACC and NCAA career punting records. Blogger So Dear has long been tracking his approach to these records. It will take him no more than two punts this weekend to crack 10,000 career punting yards.

Wil "The Missile Man" Baumann

Bio
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 187
Class: Senior
Major: Sports Management

Stats
Yards per punt: 46.1
Punts per game: 4.6
Fair catch percentage: 26.1
Punts inside 20: 19
Punt of 50+ yards: 18
Season long: 67 yards
2014 punting yardage: 2,120
Career punting yardage: 10,264
Career punt total: 252

The buzz around Baumann is so well established by now that you've likely tired of hearing about it. The Ray Guy Award watch-lister is leading the ACC and ranks fourth nationally in yards per punt. Impressively, he is averaging four punts over 50 yards for every 10 attempts, a proportion that would be higher were it not for certain limitations created by the football field's dimensions.

The Pick: Wil Baumann

Kinal's impressive combination of volume and distance is incredibly difficult for most opponents to overcome, and Wake Forest's offensive coordinator has done an outstanding job all season of getting him the ball. But Baumann has the edge in efficiency, and you cannot discount the impact of Senior Day. I think the Wolfpack will find a way to get him involved early and often. The future NFL Hall of Famer will handle the rest.