Despite playoff misses, NDSU Bison kicker Cam Pedersen confident heading into title game
FRISCO, Texas -- It's been a triple dose of football North Dakota State has thrown at its three opponents in the Division I FCS playoffs. Offense, defense and special teams have all been on their game.Perhaps the only blip on the radar has been t...
FRISCO, Texas - It’s been a triple dose of football North Dakota State has thrown at its three opponents in the Division I FCS playoffs. Offense, defense and special teams have all been on their game.
Perhaps the only blip on the radar has been the field-goal unit, which has struggled heading into the championship game at 10 a.m. Saturday against Jacksonville State (Ala.) at Toyota Stadium. Kicker Cam Pedersen has missed six field goals in the playoffs, but that hasn’t rattled the true freshman.
“It’s been a little bit of a tough go lately, during games I haven’t been doing too well,” Pedersen said. “I wouldn’t say I have dropped in confidence too much from the beginning of the year. I haven’t been having the best luck.”
Earlier this week, Pedersen got a vote of confidence from Bison head coach Chris Klieman heading into the national title game.
“It means a lot that (Klieman) keeps his trust in me,” Pedersen said. “I just have to keep trying to make kicks.”
Pedersen has made 1 of 7 field-goal attempts in three postseason games. Two of those misses have been from 50 yards or longer. In contrast, Pedersen had a solid regular season, hitting 8 of 11 field goals, including a season-long 49 yards.
“I’ve been looking at my mechanics a lot and watching film,” Pedersen said. “There’s some things I need to change. I don’t want to change too much right in the middle of the most important part of the season. I’ve been trying to tweak a little bit of stuff.”
The Bison will be playing on a grass field for only the second time this season. NDSU played on grass in a 28-7 victory at South Dakota State in early October and Pedersen was 4-for-4 on extra points.
Field conditions shouldn’t be an issue Saturday. Tom Jones, the vice president of complex management at Toyota Stadium, said Wednesday the playing surface is in “ideal” shape for the championship game.
“They keep the (natural) turf really nice and short so it should be pretty similar to (artificial) turf,” Pedersen said. “Unless, you’ve got really long grass, it should be pretty similar. The only really worry is footwear and make sure you’re not going to be slipping.”
Pedersen said the three-week break between the semifinals and championship have been good for him, giving him a chance to take a few days off and clear his mind.
“I’ve been having a good week at practice,” Pedersen said. “I’m looking to have a real good game on Saturday.”