January 04, 2012
Making the game-winning kick in a major bowl game is the moment every collegiate kicker dreams of. Michigan's Brendan Gibbons was living that moment on the final play of overtime against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.
With that kind of pressure, you'd think all sorts of things would be going through Gibbons' mind — the alignment, the technique, the trajectory, the crowd, the defense, the distance, the snap, the hold and of course, the mantra: "Don't miss, don't miss, don't miss."
But Gibbons wasn't thinking any of that. When faced with the biggest field goal of his young career, Gibbons was thinking of... brunette girls.
"Every time we were struggling in kicking, coach tells me to think about girls on a beach or brunette girls," Gibbons said after nailing a 37-yard kick to seal Michigan's 23-20, overtime win over Virginia Tech. "So that's what we did. Made the kick."
That's awesome on two fronts: The fact that coach Brady Hoke uses that as a way to calm his kicker down, and the fact that Gibbons admitted to it.
Gibbons was 3-for-3 in the contest and seized the game-winning moment after third-string Virginia Tech kicker Justin Myer missed his 37-yard try on the Hokies' turn with the ball.
A year ago, Gibbons was replaced as the starting kicker after starting 1-of-5, but Hoke saw something in Gibbons that gave him the confidence to make him the starter again. And Gibbons exuded that confidence in that final kick.
"I thought it was good when I hit it. Felt good coming off my foot," Gibbons said. "I just wanted to celebrate with my teammates, and it felt good to celebrate with them."