Iowa State PK Cole Netten eyes school record
AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State's most recent stretch of futility has made it tough for any of its players to put their name in the school record book.
Kicker Cole Netten is set to make history anyway.
Netten is just four points shy of breaking the school record of 266 set by Jeff Shudak from 1987-90. Netten is also the most accurate kicker Iowa State has ever had, connecting on 46 of 60 field goal tries and eight of nine in 2016.
Netten will look to set the record Thursday night when the Cyclones (1-7, 0-5 Big 12) host No. 12 Oklahoma (6-2, 5-0).
''It seems like a huge deal. But at the same time, I've just been trusting in my process. And from there you get the results,'' Netten said.
The one trait that has defined Netten's career is consistency.
Netten, who grew up in nearby Ankeny Iowa, has been in pressure situations for close to a decade. He started as a freshman in high school for one of the state's top programs and excelled right away, converting all 19 of his extra points at just 14 years old.
Netten became so prolific with his leg that he was ranked the 10th best overall prospect in the state as a senior, when he forced touchbacks on 64 of 73 kickoffs.
After a redshirt year to become acclimated to college, Netten assumed the starting job for the Cyclones.
He never gave it up.
''He's just confident in what he does. He's been doing it for so long,'' said quarterback Joel Lanning, who has played with Netten since middle school. ''He works very hard at it ... and he's probably going to be the school's all-time leader for a reason. It's well deserved.''
Netten proved to be almost a sure thing in the red zone as freshman, missing just one of 14 field goals from 40 yards or less. He also drilled a pair of field goals and all four of his extra point tries in a win over Kansas in 2013, a game played on an icy field in Ames. In 2014, Netten hit a game-winning 42-yard field goal at Iowa, giving the Cyclones a rare moment of glory during a season they finished at 2-10.
But as a junior, Netten missed five of his first 11 field goal tries quickly He quickly realized that kicking had always come so easily to him that he couldn't see that his fundamentals were off.
Nettten rallied to make his last eight field goals in 2015, and has missed just once - a 50-yarder at Texas two weeks ago- in his last 17 tries.
Netten has also hit all seven of his tries inside the red zone in 2016, helping Iowa State convert 92 percent of its chances inside its opponent's 20-yard line, which is good for second-best in the Big 12.
''It was a rough patch for sure. But as bad as it may sound, it helped me out a lot,'' Netten said. ''I worked hard on it after that, and I really started focusing on the details. Kicking is a game of inches, and I took a lot more time and started to perfect my craft.''
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