July 29, 2009

VIDEO: Swenson eyes record, wants to kickoff in '09

CHICAGO - Nearly every place-kicker that arrives on campus at a BCS football program with scholarship to kick or those that find their way to camp as preferred walk-ons can split the uprights from 45 yards out when nobody is watching or even during practice.

But it takes a rare breed to do what Brett Swenson has done for the past three years as one of the more successful kickers in a program that has had a number of its specialists go one to NFL fame including Morten Anderson, of the game's all-time greats, Paul Edinger, and Dave Rayner among others.

"The field goal at Wisconsin was a 44-yard field goal," Swenson explained. "I went in there with the mindset that that 44-yard field goal was no different than one in practice. The only difference is the 80,000 people in the stands and there was more pressure. You just have to walk onto the field as calm as you can and go out there and have fun. I don't know how many field goals I've kicked during my life between games in practice. It was just another one, only there was chance to make it special."

Swenson is special because he is one of just a handful of people in the game of football that can say with any measure of honesty that kicking a 44-yarder with the game on the line is fun.

"When you are a kicker you have got to enjoy that," said Swenson. "There is a lot of stress, but it is more of a mental thing than a physical thing. If you don't get excited about a situation like that, kicking is not for you.

Heading into his final season as a Spartan, Swenson ranks second among Bowl Conference Subdivision kickers in career field goals (52), which also puts him in a third-place tie with Chris Gardner on the all-time career field goal leaders list at Michigan State behind Rayner. Swenson needs 10 field goals to tie Rayner for first place in career field goals and just one more would give the senior the all-time mark at MSU.

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