I have purchased very few Penn State jerseys in my life. I bought a Rob Bolden jersey as a freshman, because one, I needed and jersey and two, we were about to take a wonderful journey for the next four years at Penn State together. I bought the jersey of my former favorite player, Devon "Moo Moo" Smith. I bought a Talor Battle jersey downtown because it was mistakenly behind a 50% off sign, and I convinced the store owner that it was only right to sell it to me with the advertised discount. And I customized and purchased a Sam Ficken jersey (Just the number, don't worry. I'm not an animal).
For those that don't remember, Sam Ficken was straight cash from the end of 2012 and early 2013, hitting 15 in a row at one point. That included his beautiful 54 yarder against Kent State, which I was lucky enough to be able to view from the press box. Let me tell you, that thing was an absolute beauty. Although he slowed down his torrid pace considerably as the season went on, it is common knowledge at this point that he was dealing with an injury that plagued his game.
It has been a long and interesting journey for the man going on his third season as the starting Nittany Lion kicker. After being one of the most criticized and universally disliked people on the entire campus following the Virginia disappointment, he became one of the heroes of the Wisconsin effort, sealing the game with his clutch overtime kick in snowy, windy conditions. He was beginning to cement himself as one of the premier kickers in the Big Ten during his hot streak, before the injury sent him spiraling back down the drain.
Ficken has shown flashes of being an all-conference kicker when he's on. Kicker is a very unique position on the football field, as the mental game arguably plays more of a factor than at any other spot. As long as Sam can keep his head on straight and stay focused, this team will have absolutely no problem with getting production from the field goal unit. James Franklin has already been implementing techniques to help his kicker prepare for the pressure, by screaming at him and splashing him with water as he makes his approach in practice. It also helps that the team bets on Sam's kicking at the end of practice as a wager against running extra laps.
There's plenty to love about Same Ficken, and I can't do all of the loving by myself. Join me this season in giving him your unwavering support, and showing him that we truly are Stickin' with Ficken.