When Andrew Baggett learned Sunday evening that he had been requested for Monday’s weekly media session, he knew what to expect.
Baggett, a junior kicker for Missouri, clanged a potential game-tying field goal off the left upright in double overtime last season against South Carolina.
It was the Tigers’ only loss in the regular season, so it’s not his favorite subject to talk about ad nauseam.
“The best days I have are the Mondays when you guys don’t want to talk to me,” said Baggett, a Lee’s Summit North graduate.
That missed field goal, a 24-yarder stoink in the cursed north end zone, was a low point in Baggett’s career, but it’s not one he’s dwelled upon.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel doesn’t believe this miss resonates with Baggett anymore.
“It probably hasn’t until you guys start talking to him,” Pinkel joked. “No, I think you learn from those things. He came back and finished the year (strong). He made two big kicks in the Cotton Bowl, I believe. He learned from those things.”
Baggett also insists that miss, which triggered some nasty comments aimed his way on social media, hasn’t lingered.
“No, not really,” Baggett said. “It’s just another kick, you know. I’ve missed some before. I’ve missed some after that. It’s not the end of the world. Realistically, it was just the last mistake of the game, but we still went to the SEC Championship game, we still went to the Cotton Bowl. It didn’t have real relevance when it came down to the end of the season.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Baggett wouldn’t like a do-over.
“Would I still like it back? Yeah, I’d like every miss back,” Baggett said. “That’s the goal. I’m pretty much the only position on the field that goes out every single time to score points, so that’s what I need to do.”
Baggett’s teammates felt for him last season and are proud of the way he rebounded.
“It’s a pressure-packed situation for a pressure-packed position,” MU offensive lineman Mitch Morse said. “Everyone makes mistakes, but it doesn’t define him as a football player. As a football player, you have to make sure that mistakes don’t define what kind of player you are, and I think he was able to get past that.”
It’s easy to forget, but Baggett has made some big kicks too.
He said the biggest kick he’s ever made was a 35-yard field goal at Tennessee, which delivered a 51-48 quadruple-overtime victory for Missouri.
Baggett also nailed a 40-yard kick last week against Indiana with 2:20 remaining, which would have stood as the game-winner had the Hoosiers not marched down the field for the game-winning touchdown.
Baggett, who missed two field goals against South Dakota State in the 2014 opener, has made nine of 12 field goals since that miss, including a 42-yarder in the SEC Championship Game and a career-long 46-yarder in the Cotton Bowl.
He’s also connected on 42 of 43 extra points, including the last 34 in a row.
“This is not a game of perfect,” Pinkel said. “You’re going to make mistakes, and the most important thing is you learn from them.”
Baggett is confident that he has.
If he’s called on Saturday, when Missouri battles South Carolina at 6 p.m. on ESPN, he won’t be thinking about any of his previous makes or misses. He’ll simply be focused on putting those precious points on the board for his team.
“Last year, obviously, I had to deal with it for a little while, but it’s been however many months now and it’s a new season and a new team,” Baggett said.