Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



‘I’m Just Doing My Job’: Alex Felkins Establishing Himself As Penn State Football’s Top Kicker

Punt. Field goal. Field goal. Touchdown. Field goal attempt. Punt. Field goal.

Penn State football struggled to finish its drives in the first half of its win against Illinois Saturday. The Nittany Lions reached Illinois territory five times in the opening 30 minutes of action, but they scored just one touchdown during that time span. Both the pass and rush game stalled frequently, particularly one three-play sequence where Penn State couldn’t move the ball from the Fighting Illini’s two-yard line into the end zone.

That’s where Alex Felkins came in.

Penn State’s starting kicker racked up most of the team’s points in the first half. Watching Felkins jog out to attempt a three-point play on a sequence where Penn State should have scored seven wasn’t always pretty. But it was effective.

On his own, Felkins scored 10 points in the first half. Had he missed his field goals, Penn State would have entered the locker room at halftime tied with the Illini in a game the Nittany Lions were expected to run away with.

“It feels great. I’m just doing my job,” Felkins said after the game. “Just like any other game obviously, you don’t necessarily expect four field goal attempts in the first half. When you get put out there you have to do your job.”

Felkins didn’t need to attempt a field goal after halftime. Penn State’s offense managed to flip a switch in the second half as the offense eventually found its way into the endzone twice, punted four times, and turned the ball over once.

Penn State’s kicker converted three of his four attempts against the Illini, missing just one kick from 52 yards five minutes into the second quarter. Despite attempting a kick one yard shorter than his career-long conversion of 53 yards, Felkins’ try at Memorial Stadium didn’t come close to reaching the field goal. It was a mistake that he quickly owned up to.

“I just chunked it pretty bad,” Felkins said matter-of-factly. “It was just bad ball contact.”

Felkins isn’t exactly one to run from his errors. He said he’s realistic about his abilities, which can sometimes hinder him when kicking.

“I’ve always just been a really realistic person. And I think sometimes it’s been a battle for me, because sometimes as a kicker, you have to be a little irrational,” Felkins said. “If you go out for a long kick and there’s a 20-mile-per-hour wind in your face, you have to convince yourself you’re gonna smash it.”

A transfer from Columbia, Felkins said he entered Penn State to try to play at a top football program. When Stacy Collins and the Nittany Lions called, Felkins was more than happy to pick up the phone. While he came to Penn State with the hope of playing in big games, Felkins knew that he’d have to earn those reps.

Felkins said that he’s started every game in his career since high school. That changed when James Franklin gave Sander Sahaydak the nod to start against West Virginia in the team’s season opener. When Sahaydak missed both his field goal attempts in the first half against the Mountaineers, Felkins entered the game. Felkins converted on his lone field goal attempt, subsequently earning the starting job.

Felkins hasn’t taken his role for granted. He understands that he’s one bad game from ending up like Sahaydak, this time with roles reversed. It’s the same reason why he said he hopes Sahayadak is always ready to take over.

“The reality is the same exact thing could happen to me next week,” Felkins said. “So it’s important for [Sahaydak] to be ready to hop right back in there, and I think he’s in that spot.”

Despite his realism, Felkins also seems confident. He knows his stats from Columbia didn’t jump off the paper, but he also seems to feel comfortable saying that he has more to offer. He shanked a kick from 52 yards but said that on most days, he could hit one from 55 or 56 yards with relative ease.

Felkins has also found kicking at Beaver Stadium to be easier than kicking in front of a smaller crowd at Columbia, even though the stadium hasn’t been kind to his teammate. Kicking is no longer a reason for Felkins to get nervous. Now, it’s a chance to shine.

“Kicking in the Ivy League is almost harder. Because you walk out and you run out of the tunnel and you might know half the people in the stadiums. You get to Penn State and it’s almost like a white mass,” Felkins said. “At Columbia, I was scared to miss when I went out in the field. But now I see it more as an opportunity to succeed.”

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football, and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please direct all praise about punters toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

Penn State Defense Proves Itself Against Illinois

The Nittany Lions’ defense had five turnovers, four tackles for loss, and one sack in the 30-13 victory over the Fighting Illini.

Penn State Football Catches Penalty Bug Against Illinois

The Nittany Lions had seven accepted penalties resulting in 70 yards during the win Saturday.

Penn State Football Regains Key Players Against Illinois

Three defensive players and a wide receiver are no longer listed on the availability report and may make their return Saturday.

Follow on Another Platform
Other posts by Joe

Gameday Coverage: No. 7 Penn State vs. Illinois

The Nittany Lions will return to FOX for the first time this year, and the network will send its top broadcast team to Illinois for the game.

Tight Ends Tyler Warren & Theo Johnson Working In Penn State Football Rotation

‘He’s Doing All The Right Things’: Experience Strengthening Drew Allar’s Road Start Preparations