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Another clutch kick from Kenny

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Another clutch kick from Kenny (photo courtesy of UMaine/Ronnie Gillis)

If you were to just look at the numbers, you might not be that impressed with the season that University of Maine kicker Kenny Doak is having. Doak currently sits seventh in the Colonial Athletic Association in field goals made, having converted five of his eight attempts on the season to go with a 13-for-15 conversion rate on extra points. It’s a perfectly fine season, but nothing to write home about.

Yet it’s a safe bet that these days, head coach Joe Harasymiak wouldn’t trade him for any kicker in the country. Because in this case, it’s not about quantity, but quality. And let’s be clear – Kenny Doak is giving UMaine QUALITY.

The placekicker from Perkaskie, Pennsylvania has drilled game-winning kicks as time expired in the last two Black Bear victories.

The first was on October 6 against the Villanova Wildcats. In a defensive slugfest, the Black Bears held their opponents to just 10 points. However, the UMaine offense struggled as well, managing just 10 points of their own. As time was running down, the Bears found themselves on the Villanova 35 with just three seconds left. Doak – whose previous career long was just 38 yards – took the field with the wind at his back and drilled the kick to propel his team to a 13-10 win. The 52-yarder tied the record for longest in school history.

That’s a pretty impressive feat, right? The sort of thing that only happens once in a blue moon? Ordinarily, yes, but the lightning leg of Kenny Doak was ready to strike twice.

Last weekend, the matchup between Maine and the University of Rhode Island took place on URI’s field. It could not have been more different than the Villanova game; it was a high-scoring affair that featured a lot of offense (and more than a few questionable calls), but after URI scored a touchdown late and failed their two-point try, the score was 36-35 URI with less than a minute left. Quarterback Chris Ferguson marched the Black Bears down the field, ultimately landing just shy of the 20-yard line with mere seconds left on the clock. Once again, Kenny Doak marched onto the field. And once again, he was the hero, nailing the 39-yard kick as time expired.

So yeah – it’s not all about the numbers. It’s not about how many kicks you make. It’s about when you make them. And Kenny Doak has proven that when it matters most, he’s a guy who can make them.

UMaine currently sits atop the CAA, a conference that is consistently one of the most competitive in all of FCS football. Their 4-2 record (3-0 in conference) is impressive. It’s a team effort obviously, with the as-usual excellence of the defense complimented by an offense featuring a number of dynamic playmakers. This is a team that has a chance to go far this year – a chance to make the playoffs and maybe even make a deep run.

But one of the biggest reasons they’ve got that opportunity going forward – maybe THE biggest reason thus far this season – is the big right leg of Kenny Doak. There’s no telling how the rest of the year will go; there’s plenty of time for things to change. There are no guarantees in college football. But at the very least, Black Bear fans can rest assured that when the chips are down, they’ve got a guy who has proven that he can get it done.


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