If you witnessed the 2019-20 season, you know kicking was an atrocity for the Miami Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes finished the season making just 60 percent (12-of-20) of their field goals while using three different kickers: Bubba Baxa, Turner Davidson, and Camden Price.
Baxa finished the season 5-for-10 on field goals, including 3-for-7 on kicks inside 39 yards, and missed two extra points (15-for-17). The starting scholarship kicker missed big kicks against Florida, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech before eventually losing the starting spot to Walk-on Turner Davidson, who wasn’t any better.
Davidson made one of his three field-goal attempts, including a game-winning 25-yard attempt being blocked against Georgia Tech.
Then came third-string walk-on kicker Camden Price, who sank six of his seven field-goal attempts and a perfect 18-of-18 on extra points in 6 games. Price managed to impress during his limited time.w
Moving forward, Miami finally got the kicker of their dreams in FIU transfer Jose Borregales, Price eventually earned a scholarship during Spring Practice, and Baxa is headed to the University of Houston.
But when reflecting on last season, one can only wish the Hurricanes had a consistent kicker year-round, knowing that would’ve turned the entire season around.
Miami vs No. 8 Florida
The new-look Miami Hurricanes find themselves up 20-17 with the ball on the Florida 25-yard line after intercepting Feleipe Franks. Miami moves the ball all the way to to the FLA 11 and set up a 27 yard kick for Baxa.
Right after the missed kick, Franks completes a 65-yard pass to Josh Hammond which would set up a 4-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.
Afterward, Franks throws another INT and sets up Miami with great field position. The only problem, it’s a touchdown or nothing. With Miami down 20-24, Redshirt Freshmen Jarren Williams is forced to attempt to lead a drive against a top-ranked UF defense.
Miami is unable to convert after bringing the ball to the FLA 26-yard-line, effectively ending the game.
However, if Baxa knocks down the 27-yard kick with with 9:48 left in the 4th, not only is Miami up 23-17, but they prevent UF from moving the ball 65-yards down the field the very next play.
And even if UF does go onto score in their next drive, Miami gets the ball back down 24-23, a field goal away from upsetting the No. 8 Florida Gators in Week 0.
Miami vs North Carolina
Miami starts the game off down 0-10, but Baxa puts them on the board after knocking down a season-high 50-yard kick in the 1st quarter.
The very next quarter, Baxa sets up to attempt a 26-yard chip shot.
Miami would make the score 19-20 after an impressive touchdown drive, but on the ensuing play, Baxa has his extra-point attempt blocked.
Later in the half, Miami takes a 25-20 lead but is forced to go for two in order to keep it a 7 point game. Miami fails the two-point conversion and the very next drive UNC scores and convert their two-point try, making the score 25-28.
With 1:01 to go, Williams single handedly leads the Canes to the UNC 32-yard-line, and sets up Baxa with a 49-yard attempt to send it to overtime.
Virginia Tech vs Miami
Although this one may seem insignificant, the game of football is all about momentum.
Miami had just completed their biggest comeback of the season, coming back down 28-7 and tying it up 35-35 after a 62-yard touchdown run by DeeJay Dallas.
Baxa lines up for an extra-point to give Miami a 35-36 lead with 3:00 left.
If you watch the video, all of Hard Rock Stadium is emphatic after the touchdown, all for Baxa to miss the extra-point.
Many consider the missed PAT a momentum killer, and Virginia Tech went on to score the next drive and won the game.
Georgia Tech vs Miami
Baxa’s reign as starting kicker seemed to be over, as walk-on Davidson took over after hitting a 19-yarder in a win over No. 20 Virginia.
But Davidson was pulled after missing what may be the worst kick in college-football history.
Baxa is given his final opportunity as a Hurricane, a 27-yard kick to give Miami the lead with 5:41 left in the 4th.
Baxa’s field-goal kicking career came to an end for Miami after that kick, but there was still a game to be played.
Davidson was given another chance, a 25-yard kick to win the game for Miami with 25 seconds left.
Miami goes on to lose in overtime, 28-21.
The University of Miami lost four games early in the season to the hands of the kicker. Miami starts the season 3-4 (1-3 in ACC), instead of 7-0 all because of field-goal missed from inside 35-yards.
As I said, football is a game of momentum, and Miami could have been looking at a 10-0 record heading into their final two games of the regular season (FIU & Duke).
While the kicking woes don’t give a reasonable explanation for why Miami lost to FIU, a 10-0 team has much more confidence than a 6-4 team heading into the Orange Bowl to face FIU, and ending their regular season with a win over Duke.
Miami’s 2020 schedule isn’t any harder than it was last season, and this time they have former FIU kicker Jose Borregales as their kicker. Heading into his Junior year, Borregales made 72 percent (21-of-29) of his field goals, and career-high 53-yard kick.