One of the most enjoyable parts of covering Washington State, for me, has been Andrew Furney. Kickers don't often get recognized, unless they screw up, but Furney has been an absolute joy to be around. His personality is excellent, and I'm convinced he's an absolute genius.
So it was great to see Furney get some love on Saturday for doing some pretty spectacular. As he trotted out for a 60-yard field goal at the end of the first half against Eastern Washington, there was an audible "What?" in the stadium. Jeff leaned over and wondered aloud if they were faking it, and if Furney had the range. I calmly told him Furney's got this.
I've got confidence in the young man whenever he's on the field. He's just nails, it seems, even if he does miss a field goal every once in a while. And whenever Furney is on the field, you can expect something fun too.
This was the scene before the field goal. Eastern Washington tried to ice Furney, and he wasn't having it. I think this is my favorite GIF, and it describes Furney pretty perfectly.
"I knew it. You can't ice me, bro."
Furney said after the game that he hit a 60-yard field goal in warmups. When Coach Russell asked him what his range was before the game, Furney responded nonchalantly, "I hit a 60," to which Russell did a little math, subtracted about seven yards and figured out his range.
They still sent Furney, not Mike Bowlin, out for the long kick. He had a bit of a helping win behind him, and needed just about everything to put it through the uprights.
Right down the middle. How close was it? Let's take a look from the other angle.
Never a doubt. That was good from 61, y'all. And really, that's about as close to center as a kicker is going to get from 60 yards out.
My second favorite GIF from the whole affair is below. Here's the soundtrack.
We didn't know it then, but this kick was incredibly important. Furney's three points were the last points Washington State would score on the day. As Eastern Washington came back, the kick loomed large. Add in the fact that the Cougars blocked Eastern's final extra point try of the day, and you can see how important the special teams play was.
Simply, Eastern could've kicked a field goal to win had Furney missed from 60, or a field goal to tie without the blocked extra point. We've all endured some pretty awful special teams play in recent memory, but the third phase of the game was superb on Saturday. And one could argue it's what saved the Cougars.
I'm glad it was Furney out there. He deserved this, and there was never a doubt about it. Furney should be one of your favorite players -- he's just that easy to root for.
GIFs come courtesy of Jeff Collier. A big thank you for these, as always.