Georgia, Stanford & the 12 Most Costly Missed Field Goals This CFB Season
One of the most frequent comments football fans get from soccer fans is that the game should be called something different, because kicking is not an integral part of the game.
Try telling that to Georgia and Stanford after Monday’s bowl games. Both teams lost in heartbreaking fashion when their kickers couldn’t convert late field goals, which directly led to their losses.
But they are far from the only teams who have suffered at the hands of their kicker. Here are the 12 most costly missed field goals of the 2011 season.
Honorable Mention: Air Force
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The Falcons were barely bowl-eligible at the end of the season, but they were oh so close to winning the Military Bowl. They scored a touchdown to bring the game to 42-41 and everyone in the stadium assumed they would be kicking the field goal when they lined up.
Wrong. Air Force ran a fake kick with an option to the left. The holder tried to be a hero and never even considered pitching to his wide-open kicker.
He fumbled the ball out of bounds and his team lost because of it. It was certainly one of the wackiest ways to end a bowl.
12. Michigan State
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The Spartans were the first team to beat Wisconsin this year and got a rematch against the Badgers in the Big Ten Championship game with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line.
Most people, myself included, thought that they would come out strong with vengeance on their minds, but Michigan State didn’t get that memo.
As time expired at the end of the first half, the team lined up for 51-yard attempt. Dan Conroy was 2-of-4 from beyond 50. He missed the kick and it proved to be the deciding factor in the game, because State lost by three.
11. Southern Miss
Southern Miss had one of the best seasons in school history this year, but it could have gone to a BCS Bowl had it been able to beat UAB.
The Golden Eagles would have sent this game into overtime, but kicker Danny Hrapmann missed a 37-yarder towards the end of the third quarter.
Losing that game bumped them out of the rankings. They were 24th in the BCS heading into their game against Houston, which they won. If Southern Miss had been able to continue moving up the polls from No. 20—its rank when it lost—the team could have been ranked in the top 16 and therefore would have automatically qualified for a BCS Bowl.
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Many people are already talking about Georgia next year as the team best suited to upset the SEC West and win the conference. Mark Richt and company were hoping that a win in the Outback Bowl over No. 17 Michigan State.
The Spartans rallied back from 16 points down in the second half to force overtime. Bulldog kicker Blair Walsh was one of the best in the business last year, but had his trouble this season. He missed a 42-yard attempt which would have won the game in the first overtime, but the most heartbreaking kick came in triple-overtime to tie the game.
Michigan State blocked the 47-yarder and won the game, 33-30.
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The Ducks found themselves in a huge hole against USC, down 24 points with 3:28 left in the third quarter. Thanks to De’Anthony Thomas, Kenjon Barner, LaMichael James and a late USC fumble, they rallied back and had the ball on the Trojans’ 20 on the final play of the game.
Everyone who knows Oregon football knew that kicker Alejandro Maldonado had been unreliable all year, so fans waited in Autzen Stadium with bated breath as he pulled the kick right.
The game didn’t affect the BCS much as the Ducks beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, but this game put USC and Matt Barkley back on the national map. Oregon would also be ranked in the top four in the final BCS poll, possibly top three.
Once quarterback Zach Collaros went out of the de facto playoff game against West Virginia with an injury in the second quarter, many Bearcat fans gave up on the game. Their team didn’t, though.
Cincinnati took a 21-17 lead a few minutes into the fourth quarter and should have been up, but Tony Miliano missed a 42-yard kick. West Virginia answered with another touchdown to take a 24-21 lead, but the Bearcats rallied again, driving to the Mountaineers’ 14-yard line.
They then blocked the tying kick as time expired. If they had won this game, Cincinnati would be playing in the Orange Bowl.
7. Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons finished the regular season 6-6, but most people forget that they played what was essentially a playoff game at then-No. 9 Clemson for the ACC Atlantic divisional crown. The Tigers were fresh off a road loss to Georgia Tech and Wake gave them everything they could handle.
The final score of the game was 31-28 in favor of Clemson, but the Deacons missed two field goals from 47 and 32 yards out.
If they had won, the entire BCS would be different with Clemson out and Virginia Tech or possibly Wake in the Orange Bowl.
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Oklahoma was the No. 1 team in the country according to the preseason polls and held the record for longest home winning streak.
Surely beating Texas Tech in Norman would not be a problem.
That couldn’t have been more wrong. The Red Raiders had a 24-7 lead at the half, but it should have been 24-10 because Michael Hunnicutt missed a 39-yard attempt. Then with 2:52 left in the game, he missed a short 28-yarder which ultimately would have tied the game.
Tech won 41-38 in what was then the biggest upset of the year.
The Horned Frogs were two spots away in the final rankings from automatically qualifying for a BCS Bowl. Their season-opening 50-48 loss to Baylor played a large role in that.
They rallied back from 24 down to be up 48-47 with 4:27 left in the game, but TCU should have been up by a lot more than that because kicker Ross Evans missed two 41-yard attempts.
Had he made just one of those, one of the most entertaining games in the year would have gone into overtime and maybe the BCS would look a lot different.
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Alabama fans were devastated after Cade Foster missed an incredible three field goals against LSU. To his credit, the kicks were all 44 yards or longer, but in a game where no touchdowns were scored, that is a huge deal.
Still, the fact that the Tide get to have a rematch with the Tigers slides them down on the list.
Rather than exalting LSU every chance they got, the media would be doing the same thing to Trent Richardson and the Alabama defense.
If everything else played out the same way, we would definitely be seeing a rematch, just with the rankings reversed.
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Many people thought Oklahoma State should have played in the national championship over the aforementioned Crimson Tide, but Stanford was determined to win the Fiesta Bowl.
The Cardinal jumped out to an early lead and the game looked like it could get out of hand, but Justin Blackmon brought the Cowboys back with two touchdown grabs. The game stayed close throughout and was tied as time was about to expire with Stanford at State’s 17-yard line.
Then Jordan Williamson proceeded to miss the kick. In overtime he kicked another one wide left from 43 yards out. Oklahoma State won the game on its own field goal, 41-38.
2. Boise State
If there was any year that Boise State could have played in the national championship, 2011 would have been it. LSU was the only undefeated team in the country at the end of the regular season and the Broncos were fifth into the country heading into a game with TCU at home. The game was played just before No. 4 Stanford, No. 3 Arkansas and No. 2 Oklahoma State.
The Horned Frogs had a near perfect game to be winning 36-35 with 1:05 left in the game. Kellen Moore and company drove down the field to the TCU 22 but Dan Goodale continued the tradition of missing critical kicks.
The game ultimately left the Broncos out of the BCS and they fell all the way to the MAACO Bowl. A truly terrible way to end Moore’s illustrious college career.
1. Oklahoma State
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The Cowboys had some its own luck against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, but the BCS National Championship was not far out of reach. The only thing holding them back was a brutal game against Iowa State.
The team turned the ball over five times and gave up 568 yards of offense but still could have and should have won the game.
Kicker Quinn Sharp missed a 37-yard attempt on State’s final drive of the game, which would have won the game outright assuming the defense could hold. The miss almost didn’t matter, but the computers didn’t look kindly on a loss to a mediocre Cyclone team and it kept Oklahoma State out of the national championship.