No kick Far(quhar) enough for Idaho senior
With two seconds left in the first half, Idaho coach Robb Akey put the decision in the hands of his kicker. His kicker responded by staring him down, and with a boot, Idaho senior kicker Trey Farquhar proved it to be the right decision.
Holding a 17-10 lead over New Mexico State as the half approached its end, the Vandal offense had driven to the Aggie 38-yard line, which prompted the coach’s decision.
“I didn’t know that there were two seconds left. (Holder Bobby Cowan) came up to me, like, let’s go do this,” Farquhar said. “I didn’t think, I just thought it would be a 50-something yarder. I didn’t look where it was.”
Akey wanted to make sure Farquhar was comfortable with the 55-yard distance first.
“I asked him ‘Is it too long? Because we could put the offense back out there,’” Akey said.
After staring his coach down he proceeded on to the field.
“I looked back at him and he started laughing,” Farquhar said.
The 55-yard kick that might have been good from 60 created smile and laughter from the Idaho sideline, since it put the Vandals up 20-10, a lead that would never be relinquished en route to the first victory of the season.
“The uprights looked like they were right up in my face,” he said after the game.
Coincidentally, the last time Farquhar hit a 55-yard field goal to end the half was the last time Idaho had won a game prior to last Saturday. His kick against San Jose State last season spurred Idaho in a 32-29 victory.
“Football is a game of momentum, and when you can get that momentum on your side, you can come out from halftime…and draw off that last play,” Bobby Cowan, who holds for Farquhar’s kicks said. “When it’s a play that puts points on the board, that’s big.”
Farquhar would be the one who carried that momentum into the second half against New Mexico State, nailing two more field goals including a 53-yarder to put the nail in the coffin on the 26-18 victory.
The performance got him honored as one of three recipients of the Lou Groza Star of the Week award for the second time in the last three weeks. The last one followed Idaho’s home loss to Wyoming, when Farquhar connected on three field goal attempts from 26, 53 and 49 yards out.
The senior from Redlands, Calif., is on pace for the best season of his collegiate career, both in terms of power and accuracy.
Coming into the season having kicked 15-29 for his career from 40-plus yards (5-11 from 50-plus) Farquhar has connected on a perfect 4-4 thus far in 2012, with three of them from over 50, and is 10-11 overall on the season.
Farquhar said he never looks at the yard marks before he kicks because it would make him think too much and kick the ball too hard.
“If I just kick it as I normally do, I have the power to do it. I just need to stay consistent with that power and just keep doing the same thing,” he said.
Farquhar’s only miss came from 36 yards out at Bowling Green, a kick that would have given Idaho the lead in that game. Clutch was a factor last season as well when Farquhar missed a potential game-tying kick against Hawaii as time expired.
“You better forget the one that didn’t work for you. Let your technique execute itself,” Akey said. “They expect to make every one of them. I think (Farquhar) is pushing himself, he’s driving himself, he wants to be a factor.”
Akey said Farquhar has been going to off-season camps to compete against players and work on his technique and improve his confidence.
“He paid a lot of attention to that. It’s an even stronger confidence that’s enabling him to be how he is right now,” Akey said.
It was similar camps and competitions during high school that Farquhar said helped him get recruited to Idaho in the first place.
“Being a kicker, it’s not easy to get recruited out of high school,” Farquhar said. “Coming up after junior year, I started hitting a lot of kicking camps. I just hit as many as I could, just get my name out there.”
Farquhar is an alumnus of Redlands East Valley High School, also the alma mater of current Vandals Gary Walker and Austin Decoud. Having former Washington and current NFL running back Chris Polk in his graduating class assisted the recruitment process for Farquhar.
“I basically got recruited because (he) had all of these scouts there…There was just scouts constantly around. Idaho was there and they liked what they saw,” he said.
Farquhar said the scholarship offer from Akey came during his all-star game, when he received a phone call in the hotel room.
“He called me and left me a message, so I called him back and we chit chatted for a while and he gave me an offer.”
Farquhar has been kicking at Idaho since he was a true freshman, the year Idaho won the Humanitarian Bowl.
“That was one thing I wanted to do coming out, I wanted to play right away,” he said. “I wanted to get as many snaps in as I could. I’m a competitive dude, I don’t like to sit around.”
That competitiveness is what he hopes takes him to the next level, which was his goal in high school before the Idaho offer came.
“I want to be the best there is. If somebody tells you that they’re not in college, they’re lying,” he said. “Because everybody wants to be the best at their position.”
Sean Kramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org