Ficken Responds on Field

Story posted September 13, 2013 in CommRadio, Sports by Nasser Monayair

Almost one year ago Penn State’s young kicker, Sam Ficken, made himself known to ‘Nittany Nation’. Unfortunately, it wasn’t how he envisioned it.

It was September 8, 2012, when ‘State went against the Virginia Cavaliers, an ordinary week two game. For Ficken it was anything but ordinary. He missed four out of five attempts in the game, including an attempt to seal the game and send the Lions home with a victory.

On September 12th, 2013 Sam Ficken is far from what he was portrayed during the UVA game.

After this past Saturday’s win versus Eastern Michigan, Sam Ficken now holds a streak of 14 consecutive made field goals (a Penn State record) and has transformed into one of the Nittany Lion’s most consistent kicker by not missing a FG this year.

Ficken, a junior from Valparaiso, Indiana, is taking a different approach when preparing for games this year. Adam Gress, Lions’ offensive tackle took notice. 

“I think he tried to focus on preparing himself more mentally then physically for games,” Gress said. “I think he tried to be more confident and that’s what really helped him.”

Ficken, also tried to improve his game by taking tips from veteran and former Penn State star kicker Robbie Gould, now a Pro-Bowl kicker for the Chicago Bears.

“I know he talked to guys like Robbie Gould and got a few pointers from them, where they just told him to slow things down and take things easy and he put in a lot of time.” said Gress

After that Virginia game some say that Ficken, changed and grew as a player. “He’s grown stronger mentally whenever he goes into the game he’s more excited to get out there,” Gress said.

“He looked at things like social media with a grain of salt and pushed that to the side,” added Gress. :I don’t think he focused on the media when it came to getting analyzed, he looked at the game, his performance and decided where he needed to make a change.”

Ficken has taken our society’s social media and used it to his advantage as motivation. He has done all of his talking on the field and it has not gone unnoticed.

The junior took that game of the 2012 season and used it to his advantage. “I think it was a little bit of a turning point for him,” Gress said. “He was still new to things and he was young but it made him more confident and work more.”

Ficken’s work has definitely paid off. So far, in the 2013, Ficken, has made a career-long 46-yard field goal in the season opener victory over Syracuse.

Sam Ficken has reintroduced himself to Nittany Nation, and this time it’s for the right reasons.

Nasser Monayair is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email