CMU kicker secures win in first collegiate field goal attempt
With four seconds on the clock and the game tied at 42, kicker Tristan Mattson stepped up to the Wildcats’ 29-yard line, seemingly unphased, to attempt a 47-yard game winning field goal in Central Michigan football’s home opener against New Hampshire.
Following a timeout from New Hampshire to try and ice him, Mattson nailed the game winner to give the Chippewas the win.
This wasn’t any normal kick for Mattson. Along with it being a game winner, it also was his first collegiate field goal in a game.
However, the big moment felt like just another kick to Mattson. After the game he said, “same kick… done it before, do it a million more times.”
In fact, instead of the New Hampshire timeout phasing Mattson, he said he “loved the timeout” that was called because it gave him more time to prepare.
“You got to expect them to call a timeout, but you also got to be ready,” Mattson said. “I think the big thing is just going out there and doing your job and just performing like the way we have been in practice.”
Mattson is a redshirt junior who transferred from Arkansas State. During his time with the Red Wolves, Mattson focused primarily on kickoffs instead of field goals. In his third year, he recorded 59 kickoffs for 3,659 yards.
Hailing from Clarkston, Mattson returned closer to home as he transferred to CMU this year. Taking on a new role, he has found himself doing kickoffs, PATs and field goals.
Along with the game winning kick, Mattson was successful throughout the matchup against New Hampshire, going 6-for-6 in PATs while kicking seven kickoffs for 470 yards with six of them being touchbacks.
Head coach Jim McElwain said Mattson’s kickoffs were also a huge part of the Chippewas’ success as it helped win the field position battle.
“As good as that final kick was, actually the best kick he made all day was when we got the penalty there and had to kickoff from the 20,” McElwain said. “And he put it all the way through the endzone. And, you know, that’s a huge field position win for us, so in a lot of ways he did more than just win the game.”
His consistent performance in PATs and kickoffs led to his teammates having confidence in him as he stepped up for the big moment.
“As soon as they called the field goal unit up ... I knew who could do his job, and he went out there and executed, that’s all it is,” quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. said.
Mattson looks to continue his performance as the Chippewas travel to South Bend to face off against their toughest competition yet in No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.