The articulation of sports knowledge from an unrealized perspective.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Kicker Named MVP of 2016 NFLPA Bowl
Mizzou kicker Andrew Baggett holds MVP Trophy
CARSON, Calif. -- Kickers are people too! In this case,
National kicker Andrew Baggett was the most important person on the field as he
scored all of his team’s points in an 18-17 victory over American in the NFLPA
Bowl game Saturday night in Carson, California.
The kicker from Missouri connected six of seven field goals
in the game, including the game winner with 11:02 remaining in the game.
Baggett was successful on game-long 50 yarder, which likely got the attention
of NFL scouts.
“I like from the very get-go the coaches said, ‘This is an
audition,’” said Bagget who was named the NFLPA Bowl MVP. “We’re out here
getting ready to go like we’re preparing for an NFL camp… They treated us like
they treat any NFL kicker or special teams unit.”
The American team was in complete control throughout the
early part of the game. They scored on three of their first four drives. Jacobi
Greene, from Richmond University, powered his way in for a 3-yard touchdown
run. The touchdown punctuated a drive that started on the 14 yard line due to
TCU’s Travone Boykin’s intercepted pass.
Boykin struggled mightily while trying to find a passing
rhythm and didn’t see any action after the first two drives. This only adds doubt to NFL personnel who
were questioning if he can play quarterback on the next level.
Northwestern State’s Stephen Rivers, younger brother of San
Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers, entered the game and commanded a
77-yard scoring drive. Rivers put his strong arm on display by completing a 23
yard pass to Washington’s Jaydon Mickens. The drive was culminated with soft 12
yard touchdown pass to the left corner of the end zone to Mickens, who had
three receptions for 49 yards on that drive.
At this point in the game American held a 17-6 lead.
The National defense took over and shut down the American
side for rest of game. The defensive linemen wrecked havoc by forcing fumbles
and laying continuous hits on the quarterback.
National running backs, coached by Ray Rice and Priest
Holmes, also made a good showing of themselves in the game as they accumulated
151 yards on the ground.
“Ball control is the key to the game,” said Rice on the
field after the game. “I had to get them right!”
However, the rushing attack only did so much for team
National as their drives continued to bog down as they approached the end zone.
Failing third-down conversion attempts across the American 30 yard line and
Baggett field goal attempts were akin to rinse and repeat instructions to
winning for the Mike Martz coached team. This paved the way for an MVP
performance for the team’s kicker.
“Games like this don’t usually happen,” said Baggett. “It’s
cool to get a shot at field goals like that. Hopefully some people thought I
Baggett connected on field goal tries of 42, 50, 42, 39, 24,
and 23 yards. He only missed from 54 yards out early in the 3rd quarter.
Ammon Olsen of Southern Utah was the leading passer for team
National with 75 yards.
Travis Greene of Bowling Green made a few impressive runs
and led the game with 53 yards rushing. Stanford’s Remound Wright chipped in
with 38 yards on just seven carries.
Rivers finished with 96 yards passing for Mike Holmgren’s
Jordan Williams of Ball State was the game’s leading
receiver with 54 yards on 5 catches for American.
This is the second consecutive win for Mike Martz, whose
National team won 17-0 in 2015.