In Tuesday's press conference head coach Brian Kelly referred to quarterback Dustin Grutza as a baseball type "closer," but that comparison may be more apt when applied to redshirt freshman kicker Jake Rogers, considering the short memory required to be successful at both positions.
After missing two extra points and a field goal in last weeks win over S.E. Missouri St. Rogers said acted like a closer and just moved on. The approach obviously worked as Rogers responded with four PAT's (one bouncing off the post and in) and two field goals, the 55-yarder good for second longest in school history.
"I couldn't think about, I had to wipe it off the slate," Rogers said. "Brand-new slate, brand new game and that's how I approached practice."
In practice this week, Rogers was placed in a competitive situation with Brandon Yingling and responded by hitting 36-of-37 field goal attempts, including one from 62 yards out according to Kelly.
The competition during practice was welcomed by the freshman, who said he likes the competition and the pressure.
"I think I had my best three days of practice," Rogers said. "I think it (the competition in practice) helped quite a bit. I don't think you can go wrong having people behind you pushing you."
After the game last week, Rogers had a conversation his good friend and last year's kicker Kevin Lovell.
"I just told him to relax and slow down," Lovell said.
When a player has an off-game they usually go back and watch a lot of film to figure out what they were doing wrong, but not Rogers who, like most kickers, is somewhat superstitious.
"I really didn't watch too much film on it just because I didn't want to see myself kicking badly is really what it came down to," Rogers said. "I just wiped everything off and came into practice more focused."
When lining up for his first field goal attempt of the game, Rogers said last week was the farthest thing from his mind, instead simply focusing on the task at hand. That field goal, a 38-yard boot, proved to be big as it gave the Bearcats the lead and was the only score of the game until six minutes left in the first half.
Rogers easily hit his next two extra point attempts and then lined up for a 55-yard attempt, three yards longer than his career-high, a 52-yarder he said he made in high school.
Despite the poor showing last week, Kelly said he had no hesitation in sending him out for the long attempt, or the previous attempts.
"Anything within his range, which I thought was 55 yards, we were going to start the game and get him the opportunity to kick a field goal because we felt it was important to get him off to a good start," Kelly said.
During the post game news conference last week Kelly said Rogers couldn't have another game like the S.E. Missouri St. game or he'd be playing soccer soon. After his performance against Oregon St. it doesn't seem Rogers will be shopping for shin guards anytime soon.
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