Not since LaVar Arrington patrolled Beaver Stadium two decades ago has a Nittany Lion pasted Penn State opponents and inspired memes quite like kicker Joey Julius.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers enter Happy Valley this weekend to face a reeling Nittany Lion squad and its 5’10, 258-lb. kickoff specialist/demolition expert. “Big Toe” is that burly boy who will hit you really hard and really unexpectedly.
Ask Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis, who experienced the half-lasso, half-nuke treatment.
Chat with Kent State’s Raekwon Jones, who unwillingly received the Shoulder Shrug From Hell.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh paid the Toe a compliment this week: “Credit to him, he’s a big, stout cover guy you really have to account for, which is unfortunate. You usually like to be able to ignore the kickers.”
Julius, a "Game of Thrones" fan, is massive, mean and unpredictable on kickoffs. He elicits gasps and humbles elite athletes. Joey Julius is The Mountain.
Minnesota’s top-priority, besides some person named Saquon Barkley (???), must be stopping the juggernaut Julius. Don’t let the dude blow you up on a kickoff. Don’t let him ignite the crowd and the team. Don’t let him meme-ify you.
We have some suggestions for how the Golden Gophers can stop Joey Julius.
Return Kicks in an Armored Truck
Collect the ball at the two and calmly, but quickly, enter an idling armored car. Hit the gas and hope Julius is on the other side of the hashmarks. Bullets can’t pierce an armored truck.
Use an Ice Cream Cannon and Fire It Straight at Him
Misdirection is your only hope. Don’t run straight at Dr. Death Joey Julius. Fill an antique pirate cannon with Creamery ice cream and shoot it directly at him. While Julius is covered in the delicious Penn State delicacy, employ a triple reverse -- keeps the field moving and increases your chances, Goldy, of avoiding No. 99 cratering your returner.
milk was a bad choice
— Joey Julius (@joey_julius) May 17, 2015
Tracy Claeys Lines Up as Kick Returner
Irresistible Force ... meet the Immovable Object. Such a tectonic-plate-shifting collision between the Minnesota head coach and Julius could hasten planned Beaver Stadium renovations.
— USGS (@USGS) March 18, 2016
Dig a Damn Moat
You mess with the university’s immaculate grass from the nation’s best turf grass management program, you’ll anger a lot of people. Counterpoint: If you don’t dig a moat, there’s hell to pay from the Big Dragon. There’s no tape on Julius’ swimming abilities on kickoff returns. A moat would offer the Gophers a decided tactical advantage.
[Dean DeVore voice] "First-and-10, Gophers, from the Nittany Lion 20-yard-line moat.”
Prevent Penn State from Scoring
Oh. Well. Huh. Damn.
h/t Nick Polak and Len Damico