Brett Swenson is one mean, green kicking and scoring machine.
Lost in the heartbreak of Saturday nightâ€™s last-second 15-13 loss to Iowa was the historic accomplishment of Mr. Swenson, whose golden leg has vaulted into the upper eschellons of the Michigan State record books.
With a 34-yard field goal in the first quarter, Swenson passed ex-Spartan great Dave Rayner for first place on the all-time field goal list.Â His 63 field goal of his career put MSU ahead in the contest 3-0.Â Later, Swenson went about adding some distance to his spot at the top of the list with his field goal number 64, and, along with an extra point, also surpassed Rayner in another all-time category: points scored.
Now sitting atop a long lineage of kickers, including Rayner, John Langeloh, Chris Gardener, Morten Anderson, Paul Edinger and others, Swenson responded after the game with humility.
â€œThe tradition of great kickers here is unbelievable,â€ Swenson said, â€œand to be up there on that list is quite humbling and exciting at the same time.â€
With 335 career points, Swenson is now the most prolifically scoring Spartan ever, a feat he has accomplished with years of hard work and dedication.Â The brunt of many a joke, kickers are often the forgotten heroes, unless their work comes at the end of a game, and often the easy scapegoat when the goal posts are a bit too tight.Â But on the practice field, day in and day out, Swenson takes his three steps back and two to the side before kicking the pigskin through uprights, time after time after time.Â For kickers, dedication to their craft is the name of the game.
It's just a great accomplishment and something I'm proud of as a senior,â€ Swenson said.Â â€œI want to continue to do well and strive to be better each week and hopefully I continue to do that these next few weeks and help the team win.â€
This year, Swenson leads the Green & White with 59 points while hitting 12-13 field goals and23-24 extra points.Â Coming into the season, Swenson, a native of Pompano Beach, Fla, led the team in scoring as a freshman (78 points) and was second on the team as a sophomore and junior (98, 100).
His greatness was apparent early on, earning Freshman All-American honors from various media outlets as a frosh.Â As a sophomore, Swenson cracked the records book as well.Â His 53 PATs set a new single season record for MSU, surpassing the great Morten Andersonâ€™s record of 52, set in 1978.Â As a junior, Swenson earned second-team All Big Ten status as selected by the coaches and finished the season fourth in the nation with 22 field goals made.Â As a junior, Swenson also broke the MSU record for consecutive field goals made, converting on 15 straight, breaking Edingerâ€™s previous record of 13.Â Until the Notre Dame game this season, Swenson connected on 76 consecutive extra points, a record he now shares with Rayner.
Swenson may be adding to his honors soon; he sits among the nationâ€™s elite kicking prospects as a member of the Lou Groza Award watch list, a yearly award presented to the college footballâ€™s top placekicker.
Often praised by head coach Mark Dantonio, Swenson brings an upbeat attitude to every game, as eager to step into the limelight when the game is on the line as he is to produce points with little or no fanfare.Â His workmanlike demeanor is the essence of what it means to be a Spartan, and his career should continue at the next level on Sundays.Â But even if it doesnâ€™t, Swenson has made his mark at Michigan State, and the MSU faithful should be proud of Swenson, a true Spartan from head to toe.