The seconds seemed like an eternity for the thousands of Boise State fans sitting on the edge of their seats at Albertsons Stadium, stunned by what they witnessed. Knights fans, meanwhile, held their collective breath, waiting to see if their team could pull off another memorable moment for the program.
Colton Boomer wasn’t worried.
The sophomore kicker was confident his kick would find its mark and send UCF to a perfect start in the 2023 season.
Afterward, he ran across the blue turf, chased by his teammates, looking to celebrate the win. Tight end Alec Holler was the first to catch Boomer, carefully sending him to the ground as players joined the joyous pile-on.
“I just focused on the process,” Boomer said after the game. “I felt the Holy Spirit in my body. It wasn’t anything crazy; it was just another kick.”
The kick may have been nothing remarkable to Boomer, but it was huge for UCF, which rallied twice, including in the final 1:49, culminating with the walk-off 40-yard field goal that sent the Knights home with a 2-0 record.
It was a memorable night for the Lake Mary High product, who connected on four field goals: 50, 33, 55 and 40 yards. Boomer’s 55-yard kick right before halftime was a career-long — breaking his previous long mark set in the first quarter. It also tied him with former UCF kicker Ed O’Brien for the longest field goal in school history.
“I haven’t hit a 55-yarder before, I haven’t hit a 50-yarder and I haven’t had a game-winner, so I might as well do it in one night,” Boomer said with a smile.
While his late-game heroics made Knight Nation euphoric, it was nothing new to Boomer’s teammates, who have witnessed his confident side continuously.
“I think of him like Steph Curry in those moments,” said 5th-year senior offensive lineman Lokahi Pauole. “Who will you give the ball to in those moments? He’s like Michael Jordan. If we’re on the 40-yard line or plus, he will knock it through no matter what.
“He just has that in his blood. He’s got ice in his veins.”
“Boomer — he’s one of a kind. When it comes down to it, he’s going to come through,” said defensive end Tre’mon Morris-Brash.
Added Malzahn: “He’s one of the best kickers in college football.”
Boomer’s record backs up those claims.
He’s connected on 18 of 19 (95%) field goals, with the only miss coming on a 64-yard attempt against Memphis last season that wasn’t supposed to be snapped.
Boomer’s personality is nothing like a typical college kicker.
He’s admittedly shy and told a crowd at the Orlando Touchdown Club this week that he prefers to spend his time playing the popular video game Fortnite or working on a Lego set, preferably Star Wars-themed. He has 14 of them — one for each week of the season — and credits it as a form of sports psychology.
Along those same lines, while people his age tend to engross themselves in social media, Boomer chooses to do the opposite, especially during the season.
“I can’t do a physical fast. I can’t like actually fast food. So I fast social media and stuff like that,” he said. “I’ll go through the whole week without social media. I give them a little taste on Saturday night and Sundays and then delete it come Sunday night.”
“It just shows you the type of person he is,” added Morris-Brash.
That’s not to say the 20-year-old has no substantial online presence, including his website, coltonboomer.com. It’s where he shares what’s important in his life: faith, family and football.
It’s Boomer’s faith that’s kept him grounded throughout the ups and downs of football.
“He’s never just trying to act like somebody else,” said linebacker Walter Yates III. “He’s always himself. He’s very grounded in his faith. At halftime, he was reading his Bible. Not too many players are doing that. In a sense, it was like he was getting ready for that moment.
“I’m just glad we got him on our team.”
Even in a defining moment like the one Saturday night, Boomer’s faith was front and center.
“I was screaming, ‘Praise God.’ That was the only thing I could think of,” he said when asked what was going through his mind after the game-winning kick.
“Mitch and Gage are the GOATs [Greatest Of All Time],” Boomer said. “I love them so much. They’re so good at what they do.”
During the offseason, Boomer got a chance to truly appreciate them when he spent seven months nursing a left ankle injury. Unable to step on the field and kick, Boomer was left to watch from the sidelines.
“I would just sit out there and watch them snap and hold. I was watching it over and over and over. The amount of work they put in for the ball to go through the uprights — I will never be able to repay them,” Boomer said. “It means a lot. People don’t understand how much a snapper and holder mean to a kicker and even the offensive line; I can’t do my job without them.”