ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –– There’s a name listed on the Colorado State football roster at No. 47, but head coach Jim McElwain wouldn’t be able to tell you what it is.
It belongs to a player who wrote the final chapter of CSU’s Cinderella story of a comeback victory in the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl, as he put through the final points of the game as the clock struck zero.
His name is “kicker.”
Jared Roberts was fully aware of the position he was taking when he committed to playing football for the Rams, and on Saturday his job responsibilities entailed acting as the glue that held CSU in contention for a game the Rams shouldn’t have won.
Roberts accounted for 12 of CSU’s 48 points by putting all four of his field goal attempts through the uprights. Over the course of the game, he sent the football traveling a total of 115 yards, a distance that would land him second-best on the team behind running back Kapri Bibbs if kickers tallied yardage.
But they don’t.
The kicker is the one behind the scenes. He’s the player who gets called upon in do-or-die situations. He’s the guy who leaves the field either a hero or the one with a quiet bus ride home.
“That’s the life of a kicker and I’ve accepted that. It’s either one or the other,” Roberts said. “Luckily, today I’m on the happy end so it feels great.”
Kicker was told to take the field with four seconds left in regulation and bring home the Rams’ first bowl game title in five years. As he lined up for his longest shot of the day from 41 yards away, he admitted that it was by far, without a single doubt, the most stressful situation he’s been faced with throughout his entire career.
In the postgame press conference, I asked McElwain if it was about time to start calling “Kicker” by his real name after Roberts came through with flying colors, lifting CSU to the win.
After all, nobody has heard him mention it even one time since the season began, and who knows if he actually knows if his kicker does in fact have a name. There was a short pause while Mac gave it a thought before responding with his one-word answer.
“He tried to miss that son of a gun. Didn’t quite put it right down the middle, so we’ll have to talk about that in the postseason wrap-up,” McElwain said with a chuckle.
The best part? Kicker hardly seems to mind. McElwain has a twisted sense of humor and all parties involved are aware that it’s been an ongoing joke that gives them a laugh when they get together.
“Kicker, you know he’s been big for us. There was no doubt in that situation. You’ve got total confidence in the guy,” McElwain said. “He did his job.”
Jared Roberts was the unsung hero of the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. He might not have a name.
But at least he has a trophy.
Video by Keith Albertson, CTV11 Sports
Sports Editor Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @QSickafoose.