College Football Kickers Are Not Reliable: Ask Alabama, Boise State & Stanford How Inept They Are

As soon as Oklahoma State converted a 4th down play on its last drive of the 4th quarter – a slant to the devastatingly powerful Justin Blackmon, who caught 8 passes for 186 yards and two TDs – you knew the Cowboys were going to score. A gassed Stanford D put up virtually no resistance and the Cardinal got the ball back with all three timeouts and an eternity (2:45, actually) on the clock.

Indianapolis Colts’ QB Andrew Luck moved the Cardinal down the field easily, but then his clueless coach, David Shaw, proceeded to lose the game for the Cardinal. At the OKST 25-yard-line, Stepfan Taylor (35 carries, 177 yards, 2 TDs) went up the middle for six yards. Oklahoma State called timeout. There were :52 left. Then Taylor ran up the middle for two more yards to the OKSU 17. This is where Shaw bricked, badly – instead of using a timeout to advance the ball with one more play – Luck missed just four of 31 passes all night against a terrible defense; or, he could have run the ball against a defense that gave up 4.9 ypc on the night – the 1st year head coach simply let the clock run down and decided to kick a field goal. Mike Gundy didn’t stop the clock either – he was saving his timeout to ice the kicker.

So on stepped Jordan Williamson, the redshirt freshman kicker from Austin, Texas, with a chance to be the hero. Problem is, a 34-yard field goal is by no means a gimmie – Williamson narrowly missed from 41 in the first quarter. Williamson, who probably scored higher on the SAT than you did and is interested in majoring in “human biology or management science and engineering,” hooked it badly.

He missed another one in OT, and Oklahoma State responded with a field goal to win it, 41-38. Williamson joins an elite group of kickers this year:

* Alabama’s Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley, who were a combined 2-for-6 on field goals in a 9-6 loss to LSU in November.
* Boise State’s Dan Goodale, who shanked a game-winning field goal attempt against TCU in November, keeping Boise State out of the title game for the 2nd year in a row (Broncos’ fans – spare yourselves memories of 2010 and do not click this link).

I look forward to the August features in Sports Illustrated and other publications about how crucial kickers are to winning a title.

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