The official Central Michigan depth chart prior to Saturday’s blowout loss to Michigan listed two guys as starting kicker.
After the 59-9 loss in Ann Arbor, one appears to have walked out with the job outright – at least for now. Redshirt freshman Ron Coluzzi, in his first college appearance after sitting out last season, was a perfect 3-for-3 Saturday, responsible for all nine of CMU’s points.
“I’ve prepared for that game a long time now, mentally and physically,” Colluzi said. “The coaching staff believed in me, and that’s all I needed.”
After a first-quarter interception by junior safety Jarret Chapman planted CMU’s offense on the Michigan 6-yard line, later advancing to the 1-yard line, a delay of game penalty forced coach Dan Enos to turn to his kicking game.
Coluzzi proceeded to walk on to the field at Michigan Stadium and calmly knock through a field goal from 23 yards out.
“I’ve done it so many times, it’s just instinct,” Coluzzi said. “When I was out there, I didn’t hear anybody, I didn’t see anybody. I just saw my snapper Mike Zenk, he gave me a bullet. Connor Gagnon, he gave me a great hold – and the blocking was great. All I had to do was put it through.”
“It’s one game, but to go into that environment and step up in your first game, that shows what type of makeup he has. And the type of mental toughness that he has,” Enos said. “He’s very talented, I’ve said that all along. Now he just has to continue to put it together.”
Colluzi went on to kick two other field goals, from 27 and 33 yards, respectively. Sophomore Matt Cotiguala, listed as a possible starting kicker prior to the Michigan game, did not see game action.
Listed at a generous 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Coluzzi was recruited by Enos in 2012 out of Naperville (Ill.) North High School, where he did all the kicking on the varsity football team. His scholarship offers included CMU and Western Kentucky, but he said he chose the Chippewas because of the coaches – a staff he credits with helping him mature and prepare for this chance.
“It’s a whole different world here and it took some time,” Coluzzi said. “But being around here and being around tough people and understanding what they want, it took some growing up. but Enos gave me some time, pushed me, and did a tremendous job of getting me ready.”
Enos was met with kicking uncertainties when he arrived at CMU in 2010, but David Harman later settled in as the top guy, helping the Chippewas lead the Mid-American Conference in field goal percentage in 2011. He went 15-for-20 last season, his senior year, highlighted by a 47-yard game-winner at Iowa.