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September 21, 2013

Wyman kicks game-winner

Two dozen reporters hovered around the hero kicker, asking him the questions you ask a walk-on kicker who just booted a 52-yard game winning field goal.

Across the room Keon Stowers speculated how many text messages Matthew Wyman has received since making the kick. 50? Maybe 100? Wyman doesn't know.

He tried scrolling through them after the game but there were too many. He isn't sure he will be able to get back to all of them by tonight either.

"Eh, this is my time now," Wyman said with a smile. "They can wait."

Okay, lets get the obvious out of the way. If Louisiana Tech doesn't fumble the ball in the redzone twice in the fourth quarter they easily win this game, and the narrative would've been a tad different. The reporters wouldn't be asking Wyman what's the longest field goal he has ever made - 45 yards in a game, 66 yards in practice with wind - in case you were wondering. No, instead everyone would be asking the same questions they always ask after a loss in a somber tone pretending like something awful just took place.

Kansas has given away more than their fair share of games in the past several years. They aren't going to apologize for this win.

"It was ugly, but also beautiful," Charlie Weis said.

Moments earlier in the locker room Weis told the team he felt this game could be the turning point in the season. That statement sounds like a long shot, but who knows? All you have to do is look at Wyman's story to see someone who beat the odds.

Wyman is still relatively new to football. He didn't start kicking on the gridiron until his senior year of high school. His specialty was soccer before that. He said his biggest sports thrill previously was scoring the tying goal in a state quarterfinals soccer matchup. All of last year he was relegated to watching the games from the student section after being cut from tryouts.

"I just had that confidence in myself that I would eventually be kicking out there," Wyman said.

As Kansas marched down the field in the fourth quarter setting up the game winner, Wyman took just two kicks into the net and was ready. Earlier in the game, he missed a 28-yard field goal. Wyman said that didn't bother him. During training camp, Weis made Wyman kick a field goal the end of practice to determine if the practice was going to end or if the team was going to have to run. He made roughly 80 percent of the kicks.

"I just thought, 'If I can do it in practice I can do it now,'" Wyman said. "Just because people are watching doesn't mean you can't make it."


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