Big 12

Struggling Texas kicker Joshua Rowland keeping job for OU game

October 12, 2017

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AUSTINTom Herman came into the week unsure about how to handle the issues Texas has been dealing with in the kicking game.

Joshua Rowland had a 2-for-4 game against Kansas State, making the junior college transfer 4-for-9 on the season. With the Longhorns (3-2, 2-0 in the Big 12) needing to get the kicking woes figured out before taking the field for the 112th edition of the AT&T Red River Showdown against No. 12 Oklahoma (4-1, 1-1) on Saturday, Herman did the only thing he knew to do.

The placekicking job was open to Rowland, veteran Mitchell Becker and walk-on Chris Naggar. After Herman put all three through a competition, Rowland emerged the winner and will keep his job for Saturday’s game (2:30 p.m., ESPN).

“The only thing I can think of is, other than trying to get 100,000 extras paid and put them in the stands screaming and yelling, is we got the whole team around him,” Herman said. “Just put the whole team around them, screaming and yelling and crowd noise, I mean, you name it, and he did well.

“For the first field goal, he’ll be the one jogging out there.”

Herman said Rowland kicked 15 field goals in Sunday’s practice and made all 15, which included six boots through the uprights of 50 yards or more. Rowland’s unreliability has played a role in Texas being 119th in the country in red zone offense, unsavory numbers that include the Longhorns having only four touchdowns this season on trips inside the 20 against Power Five opponents.

Herman said Rowland kicked 15 field goals in Sunday’s practice and made all 15, which included six boots through the uprights of 50 yards or more. Rowland’s unreliability has played a role in Texas being 119th in the country in red zone offense, unsavory numbers that include the Longhorns having only four touchdowns this season on trips inside the 20 against Power Five opponents.

With Herman being between a rock and hard place on whether to go for it on fourth-and-goal situations or attempt to take the points due in part to the issues Rowland has had this season, the Longhorns can’t afford to give way red zone possessions against the Sooners. The ability, or lack thereof, to convert those opportunities into points could create one of the massive momentum swings that inevitably happen in the OU game.

For Herman and Texas, all there is to do is hope Rowland can convert success in practice into producing similar results when it matters.

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