Kickin’ It ISU Style

Cole Netten

It really is no secret that Cole Netten inspired me to pen this blog. In case you haven’t noticed yet, Iowa State’s placekicking fortunes have made a dramatic turn with the leg of Netten.

The sophomore is kicking his way into the Iowa State record books and Cyclone fans can rejoice that the All-America candidate has two more years of eligibility remaining.

So without further ado, here is my stab at chronicling the history of Iowa State kickers and where Netten rates among them.


Best season percentage of FGs (minimum 10 FGA)

  1. Jeff Shudak, 1987             20-25 (80.0 pct.)
  2. Bret Culbertson, 2004    8-10 (80.0 pct.)
  3. Alex Giffords, 1982          15-20 (75.0 pct.)
  4. Bret Culbertson, 2005    12-16 (75.0 pct.)
  5. Adam Benike, 2002         17-23 (73.9 pct.)
  6. Ty Stewart, 1993               11-15 (73.3 pct.)
  7. Bret Culbertson, 2006    8-11 (72.7 pct.)
  8. Marc Bachrodt, 1983       8-11 (72.7 pct.)
  9. Cole Netten, 2013            13-18 (72.2 pct.)
  10. Jeff Shudak, 1988             12-17 (70.6 pct.)
  11. Ty Stewart, 1991               12-17 (70.6 pct.)

When a player starts producing sound statistical averages, it forces our athletics communications staff to do a little digging for research. No complaints here, because this is where he get to learn about the past. And despite a common notion that the Cyclones have been snake-bit with their kickers, this is a chance to prove to everyone that ISU has been blessed with outstanding performers at that position in its history.

As Iowa State play-by-play man John Walters says often, “Cole Netten has it stuck on automatic.” In fact, he is perfect, drilling all eight field goal attempts to lay claim as one of just six kickers in FBS to not miss a field goal this season with seven or more attempts.

If Netten keeps this pace up, he will have a great chance to break the single-season school record (minimum 10 attempts). Notice Bret “Shaggy” Culbertson’s name appears three times on the single-season percentage list. Also, Jeff Shudak was a freshman in 1987 when he drilled 20-of-25 field goals. Not a bad debut for arguably the best kicker in school history.

Best career percentage of FGs (minimum 25 FGA)

  1. Cole Netten, 2013-                          21-26 (80.8 pct.)
  2. Adam Benike, 2002-03                   23-31 (74.2 pct.)
  3. Jeff Shudak, 1987-90                      58-79 (73.4 pct.)
  4. Bret Culbertson, 2004-07              38-55 (69.1 pct.)
  5. Rick Frank, 1985-86                          22-33 (66.7 pct.)
  6. Ty Stewart, 1991-94                        44-68 (64.7 pct.)
  7. Alex Giffords, 1979-82                   43-68 (63.2 pct.)
  8. Jamie Kohl, 1995-98                        37-59 (62.7 pct.)
  9. Reggie Shoemake, 1970-71          21-34 (61.8 pct.)
  10. Grant Mahoney, 2008-11              39-66 (59.1 pct.)

Netten is already the most accurate field goal kicker in school history (25 or more attempts). He’s currently at 80.8 percent, nipping Adam Benike in second-place at 74.2 percent. Benike is the only Cyclone placekicker to make an All-Big 12 First-Team, accomplishing the feat in 2002.

Shudak has the record for most first-team all-conference selections, earning All-Big Eight First-Team in 1987, 1988 and 1990.

Jeff Shudak was a three-time First-Team All-Big Eight pick.

Jeff Shudak was a three-time First-Team All-Big Eight pick.


Consecutive Field Goals Made

11- Jeff Shudak, 1988-89
11- Cole Netten, 2013-14
8- Ty Stewart, 1993
8- Marc Bachrodt, 1983
7- Grant Mahoney, 2010
7- Jamie Kohl, 1996-97

When Netten made his first eight field goal attempts to begin 2014, our office started to wonder what the Iowa State record is for consecutive field goals made. Netten, who drilled his final three attempts of the 2013, had mounted a nice little streak of 11 consecutive makes.

We didn’t have records for this, so we looked it up. After going through every box score the above list is what we came up with.

Once again, not shocking to see Shudak’s name at the top of this list with Netten. Ty Stewart, who was a First-Team All-Big Eight kicker in 1993 and 1994, had an outstanding 1993 season and is best remembered for drilling four field goals in ISU’s 19-10 upset win over No. 7 Nebraska in 1992.

In The Clutch

Let’s call it like it is. A kicker is best remembered for what they do in the clutch, whether that is a fair assessment or not.

The ability to make kicks when the game is on the line is what most fans will recollect about their kicker. Netten further solidified his legacy by drilling a 42-yard field goal with 0:02 seconds left to defeat in-state rival Iowa, 20-17 in Iowa City.

It was a big time kick and just the first game-winning, last-minute field goal by a Cyclone since Shaggy made his mark against the Hawkeyes in 2007 when he tied the school record by connecting on five field goals, including the game-clincher with 0:01 seconds left.

Who has the most last-minute game-winning/tie-saving field goals in school history? It’s Shudak with three and Rick Frank is second with two.

Last-minute FGs to win games/save ties

2014- Cole Netten vs. Iowa, 20-17 (42 yards, 0:02)
2007- Bret Culbertson vs. Iowa, 15-13 (28 yards, 0:01)
1991- Ty Stewart vs. Rice, 28-27 (40 yards, 0:32)
1990- Jeff Shudak vs. Kansas, 34-34 (53 yards, 0:18)
1990- Jeff Shudak vs. Missouri, 27-25 (36 yards, 0:14)
1987- Jeff Shudak vs. Kansas State, 16-14 (39 yards, 0:46)
1986- Rick Frank vs. Kansas, 13-10 (33 yards, 0:05)
1985- Rick Frank vs. Vanderbilt, 20-17 (34 yards, 0:03)
1983- Marc Bachrodt vs. Kansas, 38-35 (47 yards, 0:03)

Rick Frank made two last-minute game-winning FGs in his Cyclone career.

Rick Frank made two last-minute game-winning FGs in his Cyclone career.

The Last-Second Field Goal That Didn’t Make The List

The above list is missing a last-second field goal by Rick Frank against Missouri in 1986. Frank booted a 25-yard field goal with 0:02 seconds left to give the Cyclones a 37-14 victory….yes, a 37-14 victory.

So the question must be asked. Why would Frank attempt a field goal in the closing seconds with a 20-point lead?

Former athletics communications director and current director of programmer for Tom Kroeschell explains.

“Rick wasn’t expecting to be called,” Kroeschell said. “He ran out there and kicked it. He was definitely surprised.”

What precipitated former Cyclone head coach Jim Criner’s decision was what occurred during the week leading up to the game.

“Missouri head coach Woody Widenhofer had made some type of an allusion that he was closing his practices because he was worried that ISU was going to spy on them. The ISU coaching staff took that as an insult,” Kroeschell said.

“After Rick’s kick and the game was over, some of the Missouri coaches came over toward the ISU coaches and had a few words for them. Basically it was a week-long standoff between the two coaching staffs.”

Alex Giffords was an All-Big Eight kicker for the Cyclones from 1979-82.

Alex Giffords was an All-Big Eight kicker for the Cyclones from 1979-82.

Kickers Being Kickers

Kickers have always had the reputation of being a little flaky. I guess it’s in their DNA. If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet Netten, however, you would soon find out how well-respected he is among his teammates in the locker room.

Another outstanding quality of Netten is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously and has a great sense of humor. This tweet confirms that.

I was told a wonderful story recently by former ISU sports information director Kirk Hendrix on Alex Giffords, ISU’s all-conference kicker from 1979-82. Giffords was one of ISU’s first international student-athletes, growing up in Mexico before moving to Tucson, Ariz., for his senior season in high school.

A first-team all-Big Eight kicker in 1980, Giffords was also one of ISU’s first soccer-style kickers. When his career was over, a Cyclone fan asked Giffords if he could help coach his son’s football team.

Giffords simply replied, “I don’t know anything about football. I just kick football.”

Kickers being kickers.


About Mike Green

I'm in my 24th year working in the Athletics Communications office at Iowa State and in my sixth year as Assistant Athletics Director for Communications. My passion has always been ISU Athletics and the seed was planted by my father, Ken, who was an All-Big Eight pitcher for Iowa State in 1960. I graduated from UNI in 1993, where I was a two-year letterwinner on the golf team, and received my master's at ISU in 1997. I've covered volleyball, wrestling, baseball, golf, football and men's basketball at ISU, including 13 seasons as the men's hoops contact. It's an honor to be the football contact for Coach Campbell and the Cyclones. I've got stories to tell, and I love telling them.
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2 Responses to Kickin’ It ISU Style

  1. Rich Pope says:

    On a passingly related note, Alex Giffords is a brother of former Congressman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. Rep. Giffords had some ISU memorabilia in her office in Washington. Of course, she was the victim of an assassination attempt that led to her retirement from Congress a few years ago.


  2. Joe Gartrell says:

    Alex Giffords was my teammate and our high school kicker (Sabino High School in Tucson). We have a very similar quote – “I don’t know why I wear the shoulder pads, I just kick the football.” He was also our Homecoming King. My girlfriend and I were in the homecoming court, but I actually voted for him, not me.


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