September 15, 2012 at 9:41 PM
The kick was up. It was good. And the crowd went wild.
This was the scene in pregame warmups for the maligned Sam Ficken, who was coming off a dreadful performance against Virginia last weekend.
Despite his forgettable outing last weekend, the crowd was certainly supportive of Ficken — a sign in the student section read, ‘Stickin’ with Ficken’. Ficken was successful on four out of five extra points in the game and did not attempt any field goals.
This isn’t to say Penn State never had an opportunity to kick a field goal, however.
The Lions faced a fourth-and-goal on Navy’s eight yard line in the second quarter, while winning, 20-0. But, instead of kicking the field goal, O’Brien opted to go for it on fourth down and McGloin ultimately threw an incomplete pass.
“It had nothing to do with Sam Ficken,” O’Brien said. “I just felt good about the play call that I had at that point and obviously it didn’t work out. We blew the protection on that. I wouldn’t take that call back.”
Ficken is still far from proving himself as a consistent source of offense. Yet, safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong said, on the whole, the support for Ficken of both the team and the fans has not wavered.
“Ever since after the Virginia game, we’ve had the utmost confidence in Ficken,” Obeng-Agyapong said. “Since the game ended to now, you can see it with our fans, [too]. In pregame, he was kicking the ball and everybody was going crazy. That same energy, intensity is in the locker room as well. We support him 100 percent.”
Redshirt sophomore Paul Jones said the support from the crowd in warm ups made the kicker loosen up and laugh before the game got under way.
“I never kicked before, but I feel like that would be a confidence booster, knowing that the whole stadium was behind you, even in warmups and just having the support of everybody,” Jones said.