Davidovicz ready for 1st career field goal attempts in Big House
Since junior kicker Justin Davidovicz has booted field goals, kickoffs and PATs throughout his career on the Banks, he has never split the uprights at one of college football's most hostile and prolific environments: Michigan Stadium.
But Davidovicz, who is in his third season as the Rutgers football team's placekicker, is treating tomorrow's matchup between the Scarlet Knights (1-3, 0-1) and No. 20 Michigan just like any other game.
"The biggest thing for me is hitting every kick the exact same. Doesn't matter if it's a 20-yard field goal or a 30-yard field goal or a 50-year field goal," Davidovicz said. "I just want the same ball every time."
The special teams unit as a whole has consistently been one of the bright spots for Rutgers this season, like it traditionally has. Junior punter and Melbourne, Australia, native Adam Korsak earned the weekly top punter's accolade — the Ray Guy Award — after the Knights' previous two games. Against Boston College, Korsak who competed at Victoria University before arriving in the United States, averaged 44.2 yards per punt, with all five of his punts landing inside the 20-yard line.
Davidovicz notched a season-high 50-yard field goal against the Eagles last Saturday. He was 2 yards shy of tying his career-long, which the kicker made against Indiana last year.
Before arriving on the Banks, Davidovicz was ranked as the 18th best in his position throughout the country as a senior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. There, he played both special teams roles as a punter and placekicker, while being selected to the Star Ledger's First Team All-State in high school.
In 2017, his first season at Rutgers, Davidovicz was tasked with kickoff duty. That year, he held opposing offenses to start their drives between the end zone and the 22-yard marker. For his freshman season, where he had 14 touchbacks, Davidovicz was chosen to the Big Ten Network All-Freshman Team.
The Knights traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2017, but Davidovicz was not tasked with kicking field goals. Alumnus kicker Andrew Harte was the field goal kicker in head coach Chris Ash's second season at the helm.
"As a freshman I went there. So, I do have a feeling for the stadium already," Davidovicz said. "When I'm kicking the ball, it's just me, the long snapper, the holder and our (offensive)-line — that's it. Nothing else is in my head."
Davidovicz's unit has some experience with him. His holder is fifth-year senior wide receiver Cole Murphy, who has served at the position the past two seasons. Junior long snapper Billy Taylor has been at his spot since 2017.
"Anytime you go on the road in this league, there are a lot of challenges that you have to deal with," Ash said. "This Saturday's going to be no different."
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