Chris Gulla has been embroiled in one of the most back-and-forth competitions that the Nittany Lions have had over the past two seasons. After Alex Butterworth graduated following the 2013 season, the team turned to two unknown, walk-on players to handle punting duties: redshirt freshman and true freshman Daniel Pasquariello.
Gulla recorded his first punt in 2014 against UCF in the Croke Park Classic. In just his second start, he broke the Penn State single-game freshman punting record, with an average of 48.8 yards per punt vs. Akron. It seemed Chris would run away with the punting duties, but the very next week he struggled, averaging only 33 yards per punt against Rutgers. From then on, Gulla andtook turns as the number one punter, with neither player cementing themselves in the top spot. Chris' 2014 season saw him average 37.3 yards per punt, with a slight uptick in 2015, at 37.7 yards per punt. While Pasquariello has had ever-so-slightly better numbers, it appears that both punters are on notice now that scholarship punter Blake Gillikin is in the fold, the #2 overall punter in the 2016 recruiting class.
While Gulla has struggled in his punting duties, he has ably served as the holder for field goals since the Ohio State game in 2014, when Ryan Keiser was knocked out with an injury. Additionally, Chris has been named Academic All-Big Ten both in 2014 and 2015. While his future in the punting rotation is up in the air, Gulla's experience will ensure that he remains a vital part of the special teams in 2016.
Just 37 days until Penn State football!