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Meyer talks loudly with his right foot
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Mike Meyer would rather talk with his right foot.
Meyer, a shy and almost reluctant junior kicker for the University of Iowa football team, made a lot of noise once again Oct. 13 during the Hawkeyes' 19-16 double-overtime victory at Michigan State. Meyer tied a career-high with four field goals and added a 68th consecutive point-after to help sink the Spartans on a rainy, chilly afternoon inside Spartan Stadium.
With 55 seconds remaining in regulation, Meyer converted a PAT that tied the score at 13, sending the game to overtime. He then hit two field goals in the overtime sessions, and a Greg Castillo interception sealed the 19-16 Hawks road win that pushed their record to 4-2.
On the season, Meyer is 14-of-15 for field goals, making his last 13 attempts.
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz refuses to refer to Meyer as automatic, fearing the use of that term diminishes how difficult it is to be a successful kicker.
"We don't take it for granted, but his execution was flawless," Ferentz says.
The sport of baseball has its famous double play combination of Joe Tinker-to-John Evers-to-Frank Chance. The Hawkeye PAT-field goal unit has Casey Kreiter-to-John Wienke-to-Mike Meyer.
"You have to give credit to Kreiter for getting the ball back there—Casey has done a great job—and Wienke for getting it down," Ferentz says. "I'm not underestimating those three guys working together. That was big in the game."
Meyer appears more comfortable in front of 70,211 screaming fans in a hostile environment than he is in front of a half dozen members of the press. Behind the microphones and cameras, he quietly revealed his need to be conscious of the soggy turf Saturday, but then admitted that the footing wasn't bad—all he needed to do was focus. He downplayed the thought of having anxiety when called on to kick a game-tying extra-point, a game-tying field goal in overtime, and an eventual game-winning field goal in double-overtime—all within a span of 30 minutes.
"I have to be ready whenever they call my name and I know whenever our PAT-field goal team takes the field, it's worth points," Meyer says softly. "You can't leave any points out on the field."
The exploits of Meyer are not lost on his teammates. Against the Spartans, junior linebacker Christian Kirksey made seven tackles with a sack and a forced fumble. Iowa took 36 game balls to East Lansing, and after the win it would have been easy to ceremonially hand out all 36. Meyer deserved one, so did Kirksey, Castillo, and the entire defense.
"He is a great kicker and we have faith in him throughout the game," Kirksey says. "I tip my hat to Mike Meyer."
Meyer is ninth on Iowa's all-time scoring list with 213 points. Rob Houghtlin, who is second with 290 points, was in East Lansing for the game; Nate Kaeding, who is first with 373 points, was not, but Meyer still relied on his counsel during the game.
"The greatest piece of advice I have gotten was when Nate Kaeding told me to treat every kick as a Super Bowl-winning kick," Meyer says. "So I take that mentality into everything."
What will Meyer remember most about the 19-16 win in which he played such a crucial role? Was it his 23-yard field goal in the second quarter? Was it his 28-yard field goal in the fourth quarter? Was it his game-tying PAT? Was it his 27-yard field goal in the first overtime? Was it his 42-yard field goal in the second overtime?
None of the above.
"Seeing that interception at the end and running onto the field," Meyer says.
The kicker is humble, too.