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October 15, 2005

Crossett quiets critics with big kicks

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Few athletes are in the spotlight quite so much as place kickers. It is, simply put, an all-or-nothing position.

"I wouldn't want to do it," said Missouri safety Jason Simpson. "You really just are isolated out there. You make it you're the hero. You miss it, you get cussed out, booed everything."

Think Simpson is joking? He's not. Ask Adam Crossett. The Missouri sophomore missed a 36-yard field goal attempt against Iowa State with just under ten minutes left in the second quarter. It would have given the Tigers a 17-10 lead. He then sat on the sideline and listened.

"You definitely have to have a short memory," Crossett said. "On the sideline, hearing stuff from some of our fans about, 'Crossett, you're a this, you're a that,' I might hear it, but I don't let it get to me."

When Crossett says this, he puts his fingers up, making imaginary quote marks when he says the word "fans." It's fairly apparent he doesn't think the word exactly applies to some of the Mizzou supporters who were in the Faurot Field stands on Saturday.

Luckily for those "fans," Crossett came back to exhibit that short memory.

He booted a 19-yard field goal that drew Missouri within 24-17. In overtime, he knocked through a 26-yard kick that won the game 27-24, the second season in a row he beat the Cyclones in overtime.

"I was just worried about staying down, keeping my tempo, putting it through," Crossett said. "That's what I did."

Strangely enough, though, neither of these was Crossett's most pressure-packed kick on Saturday. That would be an extra point that tied the game up at 24 with 20 seconds left in regulation.

"I thought there was (more pressure). That's to keep it going," Crossett said. "It actually got tipped. It was kind of a sigh of relief when that went through. I heard the double hit on it."

The extra point, of which Crossett has missed a couple this season, wobbled over the crossbar, but it did get through. That allowed the Tigers to get to overtime and to set up Crossett's second straight game-winning kick over the Cyclones.

As the ball went through, those same fans who had jeered Crossett erupted in cheers. But he didn't hear them. Crossett turned on the 16-yard line and made an all-out 59-yard sprint for the opposite 25-yard line.

"I was running towards the 25 for A.O.," the kicker explained.

With that, Crossett made it clear that his priorities lie with the people on the football field, not those sitting in the stands.

Make sure to see our Instant Analysis of Saturday's win and stay with us for complete post-game coverage. To talk about it with other Tiger fans, visit our premium forum, The Tigers' Lair.


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