EVANSTON, Ill. -- Ohio State kicker Blake Haubeil thought it was going to fall short.
Before he made the second-longest field goal for the Buckeyes and his 55-yard try sailed through the uprights in the north end zone at Ryan Field on Friday night, he worried he had struck the ball too low.
“I just thought I got under it a little bit,” Haubeil said.
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The attempt might have too much lift, a pop-up that would fall short, or so he feared.
Haubeil’s kick kept cutting through the cool October air. Once it crossed over the end zone, he knew it was good. Only Tom Skladany, who kicked a 59-yard field goal in a game against Illinois in 1975, had made one longer among Buckeyes kickers.
As the final play of the first half in Ohio State’s 52-3 win over Northwestern, teammates rushed from the visiting sideline toward Haubeil to celebrate at midfield. At first glance, the scene looked like the commotion that follows a game-ending field goal, and they cheered as they streamed toward the locker room.
“The adrenaline was crazy, running through my veins,” Haubeil said. “The support was awesome. And whenever you get to do something that you go out there and you do it for someone else, it makes it that much more special.”
The stakes were not, though, all that high. The field goal merely extended the Buckeyes’ lead as they maintained a 31-3 lead at halftime.
There are few opportunities for Haubeil to attempt any pressure-packed field goals this season. Ohio State has blown out every opponent this season, winning by an average of nearly 42 minutes over its first seven games. He had attempted only seven through the first six games, making five.
But those high-stakes situations could arise later this fall, with matchups against top-10 teams such as Penn State and Wisconsin, which visits Ohio Stadium a week from Saturday, or in a possible College Football Playoff game should Ohio State crack the field.
That meant the try Friday, with increased difficulty, was the closest thing to facing extra pressure.
“I think it all just comes down to consistency and being ready to go on the field,” said Haubeil, a junior, “because when you have a consistent mindset, you're anticipating the game, you're setting yourself up for success.”
Haubeil said he didn’t try to change his approach, even with the longer range.
“I just tried to stay as fluid as possible,” he said.
The only instances that might prompt an overhaul in his technique would be if he was kicking from 60 yards or if there was significant wind that topped more than 10 mph.
Neither was much of a factor in the attempt.
Before the game, Haubeil said he told coaches he felt confident in his range. It was 60 yards.
His previous career-long in college was a 47-yard field goal he made last season in a win over Minnesota when he made his debut, though he said he had made a 61-yarder in high school.
He reiterated consistency was paramount for drilling longer kicks.
“If that's throwing a strong leg into it on a 55-yarder, then that's part of the consistency,” Haubeil said.