K-State kicker Matthew McCrane not perfect, but close

Wildcat senior named Big 12 special teams player of the week

Kansas State place kicker Matthew McCrane was named Big 12 special teams player of the week after kicking four field goals against Baylor. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

MANHATTAN — Matthew McCrane wants perfection. It isn’t going to happen, yet the Kansas State kicker has always set his personal bar high.

 

McCrane missed a 50-yard field goal attempt in K-State’s first game this season but made kicks from 53 and 28. He missed a 42-yarder in the second half of a 7-7 game at Vanderbilt that the Wildcats lost 14-7.

After he each miss, McCrane resets his goal to be perfect from that point forward. For one day he was, going 4-for-4 on field goals from 37, 21, 49 and 23 yards with three extra points in K-State’s 33-20 win over Baylor this past Saturday, and Monday he was named Big 12 special teams player of the week as well as one of the stars of the week by the Lou Groza Award.

“It always feels good when I do my job,” McCrane said. “(The Vanderbilt game) stung a little bit. The wind was tough (Saturday) and I think the long in pregame was 42 so when I went out there to hit the 49 I was a little bit worried, but I hit it well.”

The 49-yarder came into a stiff south wind to give the Wildcats a 30-20 lead with 8:06 left in the fourth quarter, then he connected from 23 yards with 4:57 remaining.

“I try not to feel any different, especially when it comes down to a game-winning kick or a difference-maker kick,” he said. “You do feel a little pressure, but every kick is the same to me. The goal posts don’t move every week so I just try to do my job and that’s what I did today.

“It is a confidence builder, especially when I started out missing two. I wanted to go 100 percent.”

McCrane, 8-for-10 on the season, tied his career high with four field goals and it was his sixth game with at least three. With 234 points, he is No. 4 in school history among kickers behind Martin Gramatica (349), Joe Rheem (291) and Jamie Rheem (252).

He is 44 of 50 in his career, ranking No. 1 in school history with an 88 percent success rate and No. 2 in field goals made.

McCrane certainly has the confidence of his teammates.

“Matt is great because we know if we don’t get a touchdown, he is going to put it through the uprights,” said wide receiver Isaiah Zuber, who caught a 16-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

“He’s missed a couple of substantial field goals, but you look at the entirety of his career and he’s been very good,” coach Bill Snyder said. “Considering how difficult that is — outside of snapping the ball that’s probably the hardest thing in the game of football is to put it through those two little uprights, those toothpicks up there — he does it quite well. It takes a lot of focus and a great deal of discipline on his part.”

McCrane also handles the majority of kickoffs, a job he took over midway through last season before injuring his hip due to over-work. That injury has led to a different practice routine this year for the senior, who also missed time two years ago with a knee injury.

“I structure my kicks throughout the week,” McCrane said. “I try to kick heavy on Monday and taper it down to the end of the week. That’s something I didn’t do last year. I kicked a lot and kicked more than I should have and got injured. If I can go this season without getting injured, that would be great.”

TCU TIME SET — The Wildcats’ home game against TCU will kick off at 11 a.m. on Oct. 14 with television coverage on FS1, the Big 12 announced.


Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.


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