Samuel Ficken, aka Sam, aka Mule, aka the Ficken Kicker, personified perseverance, place-kicking Penn State past early season struggles, and into a rousing overtime victory over Bucky the Badger.
After Anthony Fera ditched Penn State for Texas, Sam stepped into the starting role and struggled. At one point, Bill O'Brien held open tryouts, and for a brief moment, it seemed like he may have found a replacement. But Sam kept with it, and got his season turned around. By the time Sam lined up for the game winner against Wisconsin, most of the 100,000 in the stands felt confident, despite the cold temperatures and swirling winds. That's quite an accomplishment. Sam finished a healthy 14 for 21 on field goals, and 39 for 41 on PATs in 2012.
Other Penn Staters to don the 97 include:
Tyoka Jackson (90 - 93) - the 1st Team All Big Ten defender and honorable mention All-American went undrafted; then played 12 seasons in the NFL, playing in a Super Bowl with the Rams in 2001. According to wikipedia, Tyoka also brought the first and only IHOP franchise to Washington DC.
Scott Radecic (80 - 83) - an Academic All-American and middle linebacker on the National Champion 1982 squad. Scott played 12 seasons in the NFL on three of the worst franchises around: Kansas City, Buffalo, and Indy. That's toughness.
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