HUNTINGTON — Kickers are often told that they aren’t real football players because the lack of physicality of their position.
The position endures some of the toughest moments within a contest, however — especially when it’s a moment with the game on the line.
On a soggy October afternoon, Marshall defeated Western Kentucky, 26-23, to earn a Homecoming win, thanks to a 53-yard field goal as time expired by senior kicker Justin Rohrwasser.
Rohrwasser emphatically debunked the statement with not only the kick, but also the sequence of events leading to it.
And it wasn’t just about his 53-yarder to win it; instead, it was also about the sequence of events from the savvy veteran leading up to the kick.
As Marshall lined up for the kick following a key run by quarterback Isaiah Green, Rohrwasser went through his normal routine.
Just before the snap, Western Kentucky called a timeout. Longsnapper Matthew Beardall had already snapped the ball to holder Jackson White and Rohrwasser blasted the rain-soaked ball through the uprights.
What happened next was part of why the moment cracked the top-50.
After the ball sailed through, Rohrwasser stared down the Western Kentucky sideline and motioned with his right hand, almost as if to say, ‘Come get me.’ Then, he walked to Marshall’s sidelines and motioned to his arm, as if to say he has ice in his veins.
As the teams lined up again, again Western Kentucky coach Tyson Helton tried to ice Rohrwasser. And again, Rohrwasser sent what turned into a second practice kick through the uprights.
With Western Kentucky out of timeouts, everyone knew the next kick was for real and, with the pressure on, Rohrwasser delivered a pure strike that sailed through the right side of the uprights.
As the kick sailed through, Rohrwasser’s celebration may have been the coolest thing about the whole scenario. He calmly lifted his hands into the air and blew kisses to the home crowd as he walked toward the throng of Marshall players converging on him.
It capped a day for Rohrwasser that saw him go 4-for-4 on field goals, which included three of 40 or more yards, including a 46-yarder that set his career long for all of one quarter before the game-winner broke it.
What was more impressive is that the day left him 11-for-11 on the season at that point after he had been locked in a position battle for his starting spot until the final week of preseason camp.
The day’s perfect performance came with almost everything against him.
Rainy conditions. Check.
Rivalry game. Check.
Potential game-winning kick. Check.
Opposing team icing him. Check.
Long-distance field goal. Check.
It was as tough a scenario as what a kicker faces in the college ranks.
When faced with the tough scenario, however, Rohrwasser stared it down and said, ‘Bring it’ — just as one would expect a kid from New York to do.
Rohrwasser wasn’t just New York tough. The 6-3, 230-pound kicker was football tough, too.
When it came to toughness on the field, no one was tougher than Rohrwasser on this day.
That’s why he walked out of Joan C. Edwards Stadium feeling like a king that day.
A Homecoming King, that is.