Shafer names Dixon starting punter

Riley Dixon will replace Jonathan Fisher as Syracuse’s starting punter on Saturday against Wagner, head coach Scott Shafer said in his weekly Orange All-Access interview on Monday.

“The other kid (Dixon) did a great job for us was our backup punter,” Shafer said, “who’s going to start this week.”

Fisher began the season as the Orange’s starting punter after also holding the job in 2012, but Dixon, a Christian Brothers Academy alumnus, had been used in red zone situations.

After SU’s loss to Penn State in the season opener, Shafer outlined that as plan. Dixon punted once in that game, pinning the Nittany Lions inside the 20-yard line.

Fisher punted six times against PSU, averaging 43.2 yards per punt, but booted just two for 54 total yards in Syracuse’s loss to then-No. 19 Northwestern. Dixon, meanwhile, punted four times for an average of 48.5 yards with two ending up inside the 20. Two of his punts also sailed more than 50 yards.

Dixon is now averaging 46 yards per punt. Fisher had averaged just 39.1 as the starter.

“Competition makes you better as a team,” Shafer said, “whether it’s at the quarterback position, the punter position, or some offensive, defensive line position and that’s what we’re going to continue to promote as we get better.”

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