When Keith Duncan lines up for a kick on the Kinnick Stadium turf, everyone in the stadium can almost expect the football to split the yellow uprights.
After all, Duncan leads the nation with 19 field goals on the season, a stat that makes everyone watching and wearing black and gold comfortable.
But there’s another national leader on that field-goal unit who doesn’t get all the recognition: long snapper Jackson Subbert.
Along with Duncan’s Division I-leading mark, Subbert leads college football with the most snaps on successful field-goal attempts.
Because of the success Iowa has had when it comes to long-snapping in recent years — ranging from Casey Kreiter, to Tyler Kluver, to Subbert — Hawkeye long snappers tend to fly under the radar while contributing as a crucial part to one of football’s most important groups.
“If you know the long snapper’s name, typically he’s not doing his job correctly,” Subbert said. “It just comes down to knowing what your role is, owning your role, and then just doing that role really well.”
Often an assumed part of the game, a special-teams unit can’t function without a proper snap, whether that be on punts or field goals.
Everyone knows about the pressure kickers face in clutch situations, but that’s also true of long snappers. Subbert said his blood was pumping before delivering the snap on Miguel Recinos’ game-winning field goal to down Nebraska 31-28 last season.
They won’t be displayed on posters around the stadium and fans won’t be wearing their jerseys at games, but accurate snaps are an essential part to every football team.
“It’s one thing that is very unnoticed to the fans — it’s an incredibly hard job,” Duncan said. “Long snappers are one of the most underappreciated position groups in the sport. It’s incredibly important, and it makes my job a lot easier.”