This week, Clones Confidential previewed special teams and closely examined Cole Netten, who will the main placekicker for the 2014 season. That prompted a look back field goal kickers, and it didn’t take long to find one of my favorites.
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Bret Culbertson, also known as “Shaggy”, didn’t have an illustrious career with the Cyclones. He made 69.1 percent of his field goals over the course of his four years. At one point in his final season in 2007, I was in the back of a CyRide bus, the university’s valuable transportation system, with Shaggy.
Two games into the season, Shaggy missed all three field goal attempts and it aided in losses to Kent State and Northern Iowa. Other students around him and I all knew that it was him, but in a complete contrast from, say, what the men’s basketball team receives, Shaggy barely got acknowledgement.
No comments, no talk, no encouragement; he was just like every other student. Except I remember hearing two dudes behind me talking about how he sucked. Unless they wanted to talk behind his back, everybody ignored him and jammed to whatever was playing on their iPod.
Maybe that sparked some motivation into Culbertson as he entered into the game against Iowa that year. With no one else wanting to go, a buddy and I trotted down to Jack Trice Stadium with our student tickets and expected the worst.
What we got were five of six field goals made by Shaggy, the only offense for the Cyclones and it was enough to beat the Hawkeyes, 15-13. Shaggy credited the whole unit for his success and his ability to complete a dream — to kick a game winner (via ISD Gridiron).
"“It’s not just that kick,” Culbertson said, recalling his field-goal unit like the game was only a few days ago. “Our field-goal unit went five-for-six. That’s not just me; that’s Matt Purvis on the snap, perfect every time. That’s Josh Griebahn, perfect hold every time; our guys on the line, perfect every time."
The game itself was horrible; personally I don’t remember anything else but the field goals and telling everybody that Iowa sucked again so Iowa State still had a chance to win it.
I never expected the Cyclones to actually pull it off. It truly was a great day to be a fan. Drunk idiots were laughing at all the Hawkeye fans that made the trek down while the fans in black and gold either laughed it off with them (those are the good ones) or decided to take it personally and brought up the first two losses ISU suffered (those are the not-so-good ones).
Sure, Shaggy went back to being not very good, missing a critical field goal in a one-point loss to Toledo the next week. Iowa State eventually won just three total games that year. But that moment will always define the 2007 season, as well as Shaggy’s football career and life beyond the sport.