Kicker Ryan Tice remains most consistent weapon for Central Michigan
Ryan Tice is perfect.
Throughout the first three games of the 2019 season, the Saline High School graduate and Michigan transfer has gone 4-for-4 on field goals and 8-for-8 on extra points.
In the only game the Central Michigan football team didn't score, a 61-0 loss to Wisconsin on Sept. 7, Tice remained on the sideline.
His offense never allowed him to kick, something he said was upsetting as a field goal and extra-point specialist.
"It's definitely frustrating as a kicker to put all the work in and not be able to show what you do and help your team win," Tice said, "but I know these guys are going to bounce back. They've put in the work."
Tice was so confident in his offense that he preached about their refocus. He also made it clear there would be opportunities for him to kick against Akron on Sept. 14 in the Mid-American Conference opener.
Well, Tice knew what he was talking about.
The Chippewas posted 45 points, the most scored since a 59-6 win over Ball State on Oct. 21, 2017. That's right, it's been 19-straight games without more than 42 points (happened twice later in 2017).
Central Michigan had 21 first downs and 533 total yards, of which 344 were passing. New starting quarterback David Moore was 20-of-31 for 316 yards and two touchdowns. As for the new starter at running back, Kobe Lewis ran 27 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
The message from the staff to prepare the Chippewas to get back on track was simple, Tice said. Put everything behind.
"It hurt, especially losing like that," Tice said.
But Tice had no control against the Badgers. Most people focused on the skill positions when viewing the blowout. However, Tice not getting on the field might have been the greatest problem.
While Tice wouldn't have been able to put 61 points on the board, he could've made sure a shutout was avoided.
It's because he's the most consistent player on the team, based on statistics alone.
Since transferring to play for CMU before the 2018 season, Tice has converted 14-of-16 field goals and 22-of-23 extra points – 88.3 percent and 95.6 percent, respectively.
Making those field goals and extra points go through the uprights have everything to do with Tice's desire to continue improving, which starts with staying consistent in each kick.
"You can kick a big ball every once in a while, but even on extra points, just finding the target and trying to hit as small of a target as you can rather than just making the kick," Tice said.
"Obviously, even some kicks that go through I'm not happy with."
In last year's loss to Ball State, Tice booted a 53-yard field goal, the second-longest in program history. The only further kick was from 57 yards by Race Savich in 1975. He was the leading scorer in 2018 with 44 points.
Tice got his 2019 campaign started positively with a 50-yarder against Albany in the opener.
"You know right when you hit it if it's going in or not," Tice said. "That one felt good off the foot. I looked up and saw it was going straight. That's the best feeling."
With no wind and good weather conditions, Tice said coach Jim McElwain will allow him to kick from 63 yards.
He once made a 67-yard field goal while practicing.
"There was a little bit of wind," Tice added.
Tice hasn't yet had the opportunity to kick from beyond 60 yards. Neither did he get the chance to do anything against Wisconsin.
Regardless of the outcome, Tice said his preparation, along with the team's approach, never changes throughout the week leading up to a game.
"We come ready to play each day at practice," Tice said. "Our practices are pretty intense, and the guys are ready to go every day of every week. Nothing changes."
Going 3-for-3 on field goals against Akron with a long of 43 yards and 4-for-4 on extra points, Tice has once again cemented himself as the most consistent weapon on the roster. Kaden Keon had handled the kickoff duties for the whole season up to the 3:35 mark of the second quarter against the Zips. That's when Tice began dominating at that position, as well.
Expect that to continue.
"Everything we want this year is still in front of us, in terms of a MAC championship," Tice said. "On to the next one."