EVANSTON, Ill. — Ohio State kicker Blake Haubeil thought it was going to fall short.
Before he made the second-longest field goal in school history 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.Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter
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 has kicked one longer for the Buckeyes, a 59-yarder against Illinois in 1975.
It was the final play of the first half in Ohio State’s 52-3 win over Northwestern, and teammates rushed toward Haubeil to celebrate at midfield. At first glance, the scene looked like the commotion that follows a game-ending field goal, and the players 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, though, were not all that high. The field goal merely extended the Buckeyes’ lead to 31-3.
There have been few opportunities for Haubeil to attempt any pressure-packed field goals this season. Ohio State has blown out every opponent, winning by an average of nearly 42 points over its first seven games. He had attempted seven field goals through the first six games, making five.
But those high-stakes situations could arise now that the competition is getting stiffer.
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.”