Jared Roberts likely has heard Taylor Swift’s new song, “Shake It Off.”
He might not admit it, but it’s nearly impossible to avoid hearing that tune somewhere on the radio. As a kicker, Roberts is supposed to take those catchy lyrics to heart. Make or miss, he’s just supposed to just shake it off.
But after becoming Colorado State’s most accurate kicker in program history last season, as well as being named first-team All-Mountain West and a Lou Groza Award semifinalist, Roberts has struggled to “shake off” his inconsistency this season
Through seven games this season, Roberts has missed more field goals than he did all of last season. He has been a perfect 2-2 from beyond 50 yards, but has missed four of nine between 30-49 yards.
“It weighs on you a little bit. It’s been a bit of a frustrating season,” Roberts said during Saturday’s postgame press conference. “I’ve had some misses that I haven’t had in the past.”
But while most would expect those misses to hang around in Roberts’ mind the way Swift’s new hit does in mine, judging by Roberts’ upbeat demeanor, they haven’t.
Now rewind back to the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s game against Utah State. After connecting on a season-long 52-yard field goal in the second quarter, Roberts lined up for a 46-yarder with a chance to tie the game at 13 with 14:50 to play.
The snap was good, the ball was down and Roberts, the ever-so-reliable placekicker the Rams had counted on so many times before, missed. Wide left.
As Colorado State’s offense continued to stumble, Roberts wondered if he would get a chance at redemption.
Then, with 1:50 left in the game, Roberts lined up for yet another 46-yard field goal facing the same endzone. The snap was good, the ball was down, and Roberts, the ever-so-reliable placekicker the Rams had counted on numerous times before, nailed it. Right down the middle.
And as the Colorado State defense fended off Utah State one last time and gave the ball back to its offense for one last shot, it looked as though the Rams were content with heading to overtime.
But suddenly, junior running back Dee Hart busted loose for a 17-yard gain to move Colorado State across their own 30-yard line. And as the Rams rushed into their “Mayday” hurry-up offense, Roberts found himself waiting for one last shot. Then, quarterback Garrett Grayson tossed a 46-yard bomb to Rashard Higgins that the star sophomore came down with between three defenders. And as Grayson kneeled the ball one final time at the 24-yard line to set up a possible game-winning field goal, Roberts got his chance at redemption.
After calmly waiting through two timeouts called by Utah State coach Matt Wells in an attempt to disrupt his focus, as well as a five-yard penalty after a false start by the Rams, Roberts stepped on to the 37-yard line as the home crowd went silent.
The snap was good, the ball was down, and Roberts, the ever-so-reliable placekicker the Rams had counted on numerous times before, crushed it. Right down the pipe.
As fans stormed the field and University employees took down the goal posts Roberts had just kicked the game-winning field through to prevent students from tearing them down themselves, Roberts basked in the moment before being mobbed by teammates and fans, alike. The only thing missing was a little T-Swift playing over the loudspeakers at Hughes Stadium.
The Pope has spoken.
Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.