SE: McCrane Aims for 100 Percent

August 13, 2015

By Kelly McHugh-Stewart

 

When you ask Wildcat sophomore place kicker Matthew McCrane his goal for the 2015 season, he doesn’t hold back.

“I think (kicking) 100 percent is obtainable, I really do,” McCrane said. The tone in his voice had a matter-of-fact nature to it. “My goal is to win the (Lou) Groza Award; to reach Martin Gramatica (1994-98) status. That’s what I want to do.”

While the goal of perfection may seem like a daunting task to some, to McCrane, it’s not far from reach.

As a redshirt freshman, McCrane played in 10 games and led the nation by making 94.7-percent of his field-goal attempts (18-of-19) in addition to connecting on 41-of-42 extra points. He earned both All-Big 12 and All-America honors after his first season and has high hopes to keep those honors throughout the remainder of his career.

The best freshman kicking campaign in school history, McCrane is the only K-State freshman kicker to connect on a pair of 50-yard field goals, including a freshman record-long 53-yarder against Oklahoma State. He totaled a freshman record-breaking 94 points – a number that shattered Gramatica’s record of 56 points as a freshman in 1994.

Gramatica went on to win the Lou Groza Award (given to the nation’s top kicker) in 1997, and McCrane was named to the watch list for that same award heading into this season.

“I don’t feel a lot of pressure; it’s more nerves and wanting to prove that last year wasn’t just a freak year,” McCrane explained. “That’s what I’m wanting to do. I’ve never been nervous in a game – I really haven’t – and I hope that doesn’t happen this year. I want to just stay calm and keep my goals set in my mind.”

Though McCrane had a near-perfect year last season, there are still areas of his game he has been working to improve upon before the 2015 season begins.

“The biggest thing we have to do is to get his leg strength up and get the ball up in the air, high off the ground,” said associate head coach and special teams coordinator Sean Snyder. “That’s been the biggest thing with him. He’s obviously a very accurate kicker, but we’ve got to develop his strength and continue to grow him there.”

Echoed McCrane, “I’m hitting the ball great right now. I‘m really hitting the ball well, but one of the things I’m working on is ball height. I think it was evident in the TCU game; I hit a low ball and it got blocked. I can’t have that happen this year.”

McCrane’s solo extra point miss last year came by way of a block, so if he wants to be perfect, he knows he will have to get the ball up high.

“He’s very ambitious,” continued Snyder about McCrane. “He sets his goals and his standards high. From one season to the next, typically when you have someone who is coming off of a very successful season, they take some things for granted, but Matt just keeps setting his goal higher and higher. He knows he’s a long ways away from where he and I would want him to be. It may not look like it, but he’s got a lot of work ahead of him."

McCrane knows what it takes to be great and has the work ethic and experience to get there. Coming off of a redshirt freshman season where he saw plenty of excitement on the field, with his goals in mind, McCrane is ready to kick off the 2015 season and prove himself to the nation yet again.

“I’m extremely excited for this season,” said McCrane. The smile on his face spread from ear to ear. “I look forward to the season every year, but knowing I have the starting role right now, it’s even more exciting. So, my goal is 100 percent. I think if your goal isn’t 100 percent, then something is wrong and it’s my goal. I want to reach that Gramatica status and I want to win the Groza. It’s exciting to think about all those things because it’s things like that that I dreamed of as a kid.”

The Wildcats open their 120th season of football on Saturday, September 5, as K-State hosts South Dakota. The game, which is slated for a 6:10 p.m., kickoff, will be shown world-wide on K-StateHD.TV beginning at 5:30 p.m., with the K-State Gameday preview show.

K-State is closing in on yet another season sellout for 2015, which would run its consecutive streak of filling Bill Snyder Family Stadium to 27 straight games, as a very limited number of tickets remain.

Fans can purchase tickets by contacting the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or 1-800-221-CATS. Visiting teams will have opportunities to return unused tickets up to a month prior to their visit. Stay tuned to www.kstatesports.com for information regarding returned ticket availability. All returned tickets will be sold at the full public rate and season ticket wait list accounts will have first opportunity to purchase.


 

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.