Penn State Nittany Lions kicker Sam Ficken was still listed as the team’s number one kicker on Tuesday despite having an awful outing on Saturday. Ficken missed four field goals and an extra point during the Nittany Lions 17-16 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers. His only make was a 32 yarder early in the fourth quarter and had misses from 40, 38, 20, and 42 yards. The 42 yard miss was the last play of the game and would have given Penn State the victory.
Coach Bill O’Brien has indicated the kicking job would be a week to week competition, so the team does have other options at the position. Ficken has consistently outperformed backups Matt Marcincin and Kevin DiSanto during practice weeks and that is the reason he has the job. O’Brien stated that Ficken must have kicked about 300 balls during practice today and is focused on improving.
Ficken was the recipient of heavy criticism from some fans on Twitter and message boards after last week’s debacle, but many teammates came to his defense. He has yet to be available to the media since the game. He has been thrust into the kicking duties because Anthony Fera decided to transfer to the Texas Longhorns this past summer.
Fera was a second All-Big 10 punter last season, averaging 42 yards per punt and pinning opponents inside the 20 yard line 18 times. He also made 14 of 17 field goals and was a semi-finalist for the Lou Groza Award. Not to mention he was named Big 10 Special Teams player of the Week on three different occasions in 2011.
The Nittany Lions will look to pickup their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon against Navy.