As K-State drove down the field, down six, with a minute and 39 seconds left in the game, senior placekicker Ian Patterson set the ball on the tee in front of the kicking net on the K-State sideline and buried the ball in the back of the net 70 times, practicing a game-winning extra point that he never got the chance to attempt.
“It was just me and the ball,” Patterson said. “I think I probably hit 70 balls into the net while we were waiting, hoping to get a shot. I felt good and I felt like I was ready. I was just hoping for a chance.”
The Wildcats fell just short of upsetting No. 22 Oklahoma State, as senior quarterback Jesse Ertz threw an interception as time expired, ending the game; a 43-37 loss.
Patterson, normally the Wildcats kick-off specialist over the past several seasons, was called to spell an injured Matt McCrane after the junior starter left the Iowa State game with an injury last week. Patterson kicked an extra point in that game and that was all.
Soon after the Wildcat’s win, it became apparent to the coaching staff that McCrane would not be healthy in time to play on Saturday. Patterson prepped throughout the week knowing he would be burdening the load of the Wildcat kicking game versus Oklahoma State.
“Coaches try to keep two guys prepared at all times,” Patterson said. “After Iowa State, I knew that I would probably have a shot at kicking some field goals.”
Patterson’s teammates commended the way he prepped for Saturday’s game.
“He was really calm and collected,” sophomore offensive lineman Dalton Risner said. “He just handled himself really well and I had no doubt that he was going to have a good game today.”
But that good came started with a rough start as Patterson rushed his kick on an extra point attempt after a K-State touchdown on the opening drive of the game and bounced the kick off of the left upright.
“Okie State is a very good field goal rush team,” Patterson said. “That’s something we scouted a lot … I wanted to be sure that I got in there fast and honestly I probably got in there too fast and I hit it off my ankle. You gotta deal with that though.”
From then on, Patterson was perfect.
In the second quarter, Patterson kicked his first field goal in a game since the Columbia, Missouri native was a freshman in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl three seasons ago. It was a 43-yarder, the longest field goal he’s made since he hit a 47-yarder in high school.
“I’ve never had a problem with distance,” Patterson said. “I felt confident that I would make it. That being said it came off a little weird and knuckled a little on me.
“Coming in I wasn’t necessarily a field goal kicker. Field goals aren’t as natural for me. I was just pretty happy that it ended up through the white things.”
Patterson also hit all three other extra points.
Head coach Bill Snyder was impressed how the senior was able to stay mentally tough and not let the early miss affect the rest of his game.
“He came back and hit the ball extremely well for the most part,” Snyder said. “That was a plus. When you’re a young guy and a kicker and that’s your livelihood you don’t know how they’re going to respond when that happens but I thought he handled it quite well and I was proud of that.”
Even if that go-ahead extra point was never meant to be, Patterson knows he’ll be ready to help his team at the next opportunity, whether McCrane returns in two weeks for the Baylor game or not. He also know that he and his team will grow from Saturday’s tough and disappointing loss.
“I think we know how good we can be and I think we know that we beat ourselves,” Patterson said. “I expect us to really come back. The guys are ready to work.”