October 11, 2016
ASU football kicker breaks NCAA field-goal record thanks to faith, focus and a great foot
All elite athletes perform under pressure, but football kickers develop that skill at an even higher level as they have one chance to get the ball through the goalposts.
Arizona State University placekicker Zane Gonzalez broke the NCAA record for the most field goals when he kicked his 89th last Saturday in the game against UCLA. With six games left in the regular season for Arizona State, he could potentially kick 100 field goals in his four-year career.
Zane Gonzalez broke the NCAA record for field goals by kicking his 89th for the Sun Devil football team last week.
“I’ve kicked over 20 each year, so it’s something I knew I would accomplish but, for me, it’s about a better percentage rather than kicks made,” said Gonzalez, who has made 82 percent of his field-goal attempts in his Sun Devil career and has missed only once this season.
His longest kick is 54 yards, which he did twice in the game against the University of Texas at San Antonio on Sept. 16.
“I would say, for kicking, it’s mostly mental. There are a lot of mental things, being mentally stable, mentally confident. Obviously, keep your body right and keep your legs fresh, taking ice baths whenever you can and stretching out at least twice a day.”
Gonzalez, who was perfect in his high-school kicking career in Deer Park, Texas, said that playing soccer as a child helped him to develop focus.
“I was dealing with situations in a fast-paced game at a high level,” he said.
But he draws serenity from a deeper level, as well.
“But it’s also faith. If you stay religious, you don’t have anything else to worry about in the world,” he said. “For me, that’s a huge part of my game and I take pride in it.”
Gonzalez doesn’t require any elaborate rituals on the field as he prepares to kick.
“I back up, cross myself, take a deep breath and I’m good to go.”
And that focus includes the ability to move on during the few times he’s unsuccessful.
“You just go on to the next kick,” he said. “Dwelling on the past isn’t going to help you out in the future. That’s a big thing for me. I always preach that to my little sister — when you dwell on the past, it just holds you back.”
Gonzalez said his record-setting accomplishmentHe broke the record held by Dustin Hopkins of Florida State University. is finally starting to sink in.
“It’s starting to a little bit, just through all the stuff on Twitter,” he said. “It’s only six games into the season, so we still have half of the season left to go and hopefully the Pac-12 Championship game and a bowl game.”
He could grab another record this week. Over four years, Gonzalez’s kicks have generated 458 points, only nine away from the NCAA record of 466 points for a kicker. The Sun Devils play Saturday at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Gonzalez, a communications major, might pursue a master’s degree after graduation or try to become a kicker in the NFL.
“Either way, I’ll have my degree, and that’s the main goal so that’s an awesome thing.”
For a list of all of Gonzalez's field goals, click here,
Top photo by Sun Devil Athletics