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Kicker Ryan Tice remains starter for Central Michigan despite recent struggles


Central Michigan kicker Ryan Tice makes an extra point against Eastern Michigan Oct. 5 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Ryan Tice planted his left foot on the 31-yard line and swung his right leg through the football toward the south goalpost at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. 

Tice's field goal attempt sailed between the uprights and gave Central Michigan its last points in a 48-10 victory over Northern Illinois on Nov. 2.

In the second quarter, facing the same end of the stadium, Tice made a 32-yarder to give his team a 24-3 lead with 12 minutes to play in the first half. The kick was his first field goal attempt of the game. 

In the third quarter of the game, Tice missed three consecutive field goal attempts – from 42, 43 and 29 yards. All three misses appeared to be caught in the wind as they sailed wide of the north goalpost in Kelly/Shorts Stadium. 

Tice, a senior, also had a pair of misses at home against Eastern Michigan (Oct. 5) and at Bowling Green (Oct. 19). 

First-year coach Jim McElwain said that despite the misses, the transfer from Michigan is still "the guy" the Chippewas will utilize going forward. 

"He's just got to work through it," McElwain said. "It's about the operation piece and playing the wind. I'll throw him out there, and he'll go make them."

Tice, a Lou Garza Award watchlist member, is 11 of 19 on the year in the field goal department and has a long of 55 yards, which came against Miami (Florida) on Sept. 21. He is also 33 of 33 on extra points. 

On top of his placekicking duties, Tice has been the team's kickoff specialist, kicking off 45 times and booting 16 touchbacks on the season. 

In Central Michigan's season opener against Albany (Aug. 29), Tice hit a 50-yard field goal toward the south end of Kelly/Shorts Stadium. 

The only time Tice has been interviewed, after he didn't attempt any field goals in a shutout against Wisconsin, he said that when he hits any kick, but especially one from distance, he knows if it will go through or not the second it goes off his foot.

"I just looked up and saw it was going straight," Tice said of his kick against Albany. "That's the best feeling."

Consistency has been the biggest piece for Tice, along with the drive to improve throughout his senior year. 

Earlier this season, Tice said that McElwain would consider allowing him to kick from 63 yards with no wind and perfect weather conditions. 

Tice has not yet tried a kick from 60 yards this season, and he may not have the opportunity with two games left at Ball State (Nov. 16) and Toledo (Nov. 29). 

The weather may not be conducive for Tice to try kicks from 60 or more yards. But no matter the situation, Tice said that his preparation will set him up for success.

"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."

McElwain said that kicking is similar to his performance on the golf course, saying that he can hit some straight but can duck hook shots with the best of them.

In the end, finding the fairway and executing with each swing is of the utmost importance.