Missouri junior kicker Andrew Baggett became something of a lightning rod Oct. 26 when he stoinked a 24-yard field goal off the left upright in double overtime against South Carolina.
The miss handed the Gamecocks a 27-24 victory and ended the Tigers’ bid for perfection.
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Before that, the Lee’s Summit North graduate had been fantastic in conference play. Baggett hit 14 of 15 extra-point tries and made all eight field-goal attempts, including four kicks of 39 yards or longer, in Missouri’s first three SEC games.
But the two missed field goals against South Carolina, including a 46-yard fourth-quarter try, and a 29-yard missed field goal the next week in a 31-3 win against Tennessee — Baggett unbelievably hit the left upright again on the final play of the first half — came to define his season in some ways.
It doesn’t matter that he finished strong, going five of six with a couple kicks of 40-plus yards the rest of the season and also hit 22 of 23 extra points down the stretch.
“Everyone knows about the couple hiccups I had there in the middle of the season,” Baggett said. “My attitude toward spring is to prepare myself to have a great start to the season, a great finish and also a great middle. I don’t want those hiccups in there.”
Baggett aced his first test for the 2014 season on Saturday during Missouri’s first public scrimmage. He drilled a 45-yard field goal on the Tigers’ first drive after some situational work.
Baggett finished the scrimmage four of four, adding field goals from 40, 23 and 22 yards.
“We’ve been doing a lot of kicks from everywhere all spring, so it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary,” Baggett said. “I just went out and treated it like a normal day — not trying to kill and not trying to overthink and make it a huge kick. I just focused on making good contact and ramming it through.”