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Penn State Football: Ficken A Story Of Success Not One Of Past Failures

by on September 25, 2013 10:50 AM

Last year, Sam Ficken was the talk of the town -- but not in a good way. This year, people are still talking -- and there are rave reviews. That's because the Penn State kicker has rebounded with a record-setting performance.

Earlier in the year he extended his field goal streak to 15. Good enough for a school record. This past Saturday he booted a field goal 54-yards through the rain and the wind, setting a Beaver Stadium record by a Penn State kicker.

The 54-yard make was also the longest in the stadium since 1979.

“The rain didn’t affect my steps at all,” says Ficken, whose consecutive field goal record dates back to his last 10 attempts in 2012. The streak ended with a 57-yard miss in a loss to Central Florida that came up short by a few feet.

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“It was pretty much normal kicking that I do in practice four times a week,” Ficken said following the game on Saturday. “On the long ones you have to go in with the mindset that it’s an extra point. If you hit it well it’s going to go through.”

So what gives?

Ever since a 1-for-5 showing against Virginia last season Ficken's kicking career has been on an upward trajectory. Ficken's streak of 15 was good enough to satisfy his coach. Fans don't seem as worried either when it came for the junior to take the field and attempt a long try.

But even so, media gather around him after each game to pick his brain and test him on how his season is going so far. On the one hand, Ficken's recovery of sorts is an interesting story and 54-yard field goals deserve the press. On the flip side, the story has played out to its own end. Ficken sits and takes the questions, but he knows what is coming. Questions about his time with former Penn State kicker Robbie Gould, how it feels to make so many field goals, whether he felt his teammates had abandoned him after those earlier struggles.

Ficken will answer all of those questions, often more than once during any single interview, but his own performance has put the comeback story to bed.

So for fans and media alike, it's probably time to talk about how good Sam Ficken is right now , not how much he used to struggle.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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