University of Miami kicker Michael Badgley either has the ideal poker face or the ideal kicker’s mind.
Three days after his missed extra point with 1:38 remaining was the difference in a 20-19 loss to Florida State, Badgley was the ultimate picture of Jersey-tough unflappable.
To say he’d gotten over his misfortune wouldn’t be quite right. To him, there was pretty much nothing to get over.
“No one likes to lose, but if you’re a competitor, you’ve got to have the right mental game for every type of situation that happens and just move on,” he said. “Nothing really different.”
Well, that last part is not quite true. As shocking as the missed PAT was, it was all the more so considering he’d made 72 extra points in a row. Badgley appeared to be pushing that poker face to the limit when he claimed, “I didn’t even know there was a streak going on.”
In Badgley’s view, the game wasn’t lost by a kick, but by a team.
“It’s just an execution thing on all points of the field,” he said. “All parts of the offense, defense. It’s a lot of things. To blame it all on one play or go in on something like that, it’s kind of ridiculous. Football’s a team sport.”
Coach Mark Richt agreed.
“That wasn’t the most important play of the day,” Richt said. “Every play was.”
Maybe so, but only one play was that close to giving the Hurricanes the point necessary to force overtime. Coming against Florida State — in a storied rivalry never short of kicking dramatics — it’ll be dissected for some time.
For the record, Brad Kaaya had just thrown a fourth-down, 11-yard touchdown pass to Stacy Coley before DeMarcus Walker got enough of Badgley’s kick to send it fluttering wide, stunning a boisterous gathering of 65,685 at Hard Rock Stadium. Walker dedicated the play to his hometown of Jacksonville, which was recovering from a soaking by Hurricane Matthew.
Badgley said it was business as usual late that night.
“I just talked to my family, hung out with them, hung out with my buddies on the team,” he said. “Nothing really different from a Saturday night other than we just lost the game. But just move on from it quickly.”
Richt: “He was like everybody else. He was bummed out when it was over. But I don’t think he’s wearing the weight of the world on him. He shouldn’t.”
Richt pointed to how reliable Badgley, a junior, has been throughout his career, which includes being named third-team All-ACC last season.
“The thing about kickers is when you make 72 extra points in a row, people yawn,” Richt said. “They’re like, ‘So what?’ Then you miss one, all of a sudden it’s a big deal.”
Richt said multiple factors resulted in the play’s failure.
“The ball did get blocked, OK?” Richt said. “We did have penetration. We had issues there. I thought the snap was not as good as it could be and I do think the kick was a little bit low and left. Would it have made it through the uprights? In my opinion, it would have.
“So if we protect, it’s not an issue. If we get the ball up, it’s probably not an issue. So everybody bears the burden.”