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Andrew Furney Gets a Kick out of the Moment

Posted Aug 8, 2014

Game-Winning FG vs. Colts Continues Washington State Rookie's Good Camp

We know there are competitions to some degree at quarterback, left guard and safety on the Jets this summer.

Can we add placekicker to the list?

Nick Folk's job is hardly in jeopardy after he was franchise-tagged and then signed his first long-term deal with the team back in March. Yet there we were Thursday night at MetLife Stadium, with Folk and Andrew Furney engaged in a preseason-opener game of H-O-R-S-E. Or was it a dueling duet of "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better"?

"It's one of those things where it's obviously my first kick in the NFL and we kind of laughed about it," said Furney, the rookie from Washington State with icewater in his veins whose 51-yard field goal with 1:08 left lifted the Jets past the Colts, 13-10, after Folk's 51-yarder got the home side on the board in the first quarter.

"It's one of those things where it's kind of too good to be true, so it almost doesn't really soak in," he told me on the field afterward. "I've been kicking well in camp. so that's been something to help build my confidence coming into the game. All that together kind of stacked up and really helped out in terms of confidence going into that kick."

If the compact Furney, who turned 23 in June, needed a little more pressure to roll off his back, he got it from a conga line of veteran players on the Jets sideline before he trotted out for the potential gamewinner.

"You can name every one — all the vets came up," he said. "They knew I was kicking in the second half."

"I definitely was one of those guys," WR Eric Decker said. "No one likes preseason overtime games."

Furney is the least experienced competition Folk has faced in some time after he sent the likes of Nick Novak, Josh Brown, Billy Cundiff and Dan Carpenter on to other NFL jobs in recent preseasons. Yet Furney enjoyed a quality career for the Cougars. He converted 47 of 61 attempts, with his 60-yarder as a junior the second-longest in Pac 12 and WSU history.

That caught the attention of special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and assistant/kicking specialist Louie Aguiar. They were looking for a player to take some of the summer load off of Folk's right leg, and they found him. Aguiar was one of the pre-kick well-wishers, although his message was less "Make the kick, kid, and get us out of here" and more "Stay calm."

And now Andrew Furney joins John Hall as Jets rookie kickers who have hit game-winning field goals in the final two minutes of any game or in overtime. Other rookies have tried, some have converted in losing efforts, but Hall's 37-yarder in OT against the Ravens in the rain in '97 was the only previous rookie gamewinner since 1974.

The H-O-R-S-E element to the kickers' successes Thursday was amazing. Folk's kick toward MetLife's east end zone in the first quarter had just enough leg to bounce through off the crossbar where it meets the curve of the upright.

Then a few hours later, from almost the exact spot on the field near the right hashmarks toward the same end zone, Furney put his try cleanly through, just a little farther than Folk's boot.

"That was just a crazy coincidence, really," Furney said. "It was one of those things where I got to see Nick's kick and said, OK, there might be some face wind there. I had to drive it a little bit more. He was kind of the learning curve for me a little bit."

That curve told him and Jets fans that wherever he winds up, he's adding his list to the name of young men who can kick in the pros.




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READ: FULL HIGHLIGHTS: Colts vs. Jets
VIEW: Preseason Week 1: Jets vs. Colts
WATCH: All Access: Jets Get Ready for Colts
WATCH: Decker:'We Executed'

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