Arizona Wildcats Kicker Casey Skowron: Villan to Hero


Last November on a sunny day that east coasters would kill for, you could feel the air come out of Tucson as Arizona Wildcats fans witnessed the unthinkable. 

Nov 15, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats place kicker Casey Skowron (41) watches his game winning field goal during the fourth quarter against the Washington Huskies at Arizona Stadium. Arizona won 27-26. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

A month earlier against USC the same thing happened.

Wide right.

The Cats had shockingly rallied late in a game they had no business winning and Arizona fans thought it to be all for nothing, because of a late missed field goal.

But thanks to a last second timeout by Washington Head Coach Chris Peterson, the kick did not count and Arizona had one last chance.

Casey Skowron was not going to let this opportunity pass him by.

Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Wildcats /

Arizona Wildcats

His second try went through the uprights and Arizona had its second rabbit out of a hat win of the 2014 season.

As a fan I was ecstatic and I was so happy for Skowron. He had put up with so much unfair negative internet hate after the USC game and the Washington game let him be the much deserved hero.

Skowron had a rough game against the Trojans missing three field goals, but one thing Arizona fans conveniently forgot is how Skowron gave the Cats a shot with a picture perfect on-side kick late in the fourth quarter.

Against the Huskies, Skowron accounted for 15 of the Cats 27 points, including a touchdown set up by a fake field goal in the second quarter when the Cats were on the ropes.

Nov 28, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats kicker Casey Skowron against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the 88th annual territorial cup at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The win against the Huskies kept the Cats alive in the Pac-12 South race and if you are an Arizona fan or have read any of my other football stories, you know I talk about the Cats being the Pac-12 South Champs any chance I get.

I’m sure Skowron still has some haters out there but even if the Cats had won the USC game it wouldn’t have really mattered.

It may have given the Cats an easier road to a Pac-12 South Championship but the Oregon Ducks would have still been waiting for them in Santa Clara for the Pac-12 Title game.

Even with an 11-2 record instead of a 10-3 record, the Cats most likely would have still been in Glendale for the Fiesta Bowl.

I’m sure your kids sing this 20 times a day but please just ‘Let it (the USC game) Go!’

It may sound normal to most football fans for a kicker to have an entire season of perfection when it comes to extra points, but Arizona fans cringe every time any Cats kicker lines up for an extra point because of what happened in the ASU game in 2010.

Did you know Skowron was a perfect 57 for 57 with his extra point attempts last season? He also made 71 percent of his field goals. This coming from a soccer player turned football walk-on who didn’t play high school football until late in his senior year.

When Skowron’s kick won the game against the Huskies it was the first Arizona game that ended on a game winning kick as time expired since the 2009 season.

Nov 15, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats place kicker Casey Skowron (41) kicks a field goal during the second quarter against the Washington Huskies at Arizona Stadium. Arizona won 27-26. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona fans don’t talk much about the 2009 game.

What gets more attention is how the hero of the 2009 Territorial Cup in Tempe missed two extra points late in the 2010 game at Arizona Stadium.

Skowron had to overcome playing a new sport, but the hero of the 2009 game, Alex Zendejas, had to deal with being part of a family legacy at Arizona.

His uncle Max is probably the most famous kicker in the program’s history

Max’s last second field goal in South Bend gave the Cats one of its greatest victories ever, when they beat Notre Dame 16-13 in 1982.

In 2009 it was Alex’s turn.

With the game tied 17-17, late in the fourth quarter, Arizona was forced to punt on fourth down. The sun devils gave the Cats an early Christmas present by muffing the punt and the Cats were in business.

A few plays later Alex Zendejas stepped up and nailed a 32-yard field goal perfectly through the uprights, for the Cats second straight win over the devils.

Sometimes good things happen and sometimes bad things happen. This seems like common sense but as sports fans we don’t always grasp this concept. We only remember the bad.

I can’t wait for Sep. 3 when the Arizona Football is back, but when the first bad thing happens this year please don’t lose your mind. I will try and not lose mine.

Just be glad you are not a Cubs fan and if you are, my apologies.

Bear Down Casey and Alex!

Next: Top 5 Scooby Wright Games at Arizona