Sam Ficken Named To Associated Press All-Bowl Team
As I’m sure all of you are aware, the college football season (and by extension, bowl season) is not officially over yet. Oregon and Ohio State are playing for the National Championship on Monday, January 12th. However, the Associated Press has already named its All-Bowl team for this season, featuring one Nittany Lion with a flair for the dramatic.
Among the 25 players named to the team, there were eight Big Ten representatives, including Penn State’s own Sam Ficken. The AP had this to say about Ficken’s inclusion on the team:
“Made a 45-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in regulation to force overtime in a 31-30 Pinstripe Bowl win over Boston College. His extra point in overtime clinched the victory.” Of course, you all knew that already.
This is one final achievement for Ficken, who closed out his rocky Penn State career this season on a high note. He was 24-of-29 on field goals this season (4 of the 5 misses were blocked, and the other was from 51 yards) and was named a national semifinalist for the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, given annually to the best place kicker in the NCAA.
Of course, he had his struggles earlier in his career, notably against Virginia at the beginning of his sophomore season in 2012 and against Nebraska, among others at the end of his junior year in 2013. However, Ficken rebounded to make 82.7 percent of his kicks this past season after sub-67 percent rates in his sophomore and junior seasons. And, of course, there were several big kicks, among them his Beaver Stadium-record 54-yard kick in the rain against Kent State in 2013 and his 36-yard game-winner against UCF in Dublin to start the 2014 season.
It should go without saying that none will be bigger than the 45-yarder and extra point that tied and won, respectively, the first bowl game for Penn State in the post-Paterno, post-scandal, and James Franklin eras. Good thing they put him in Derek Jeter’s locker.