The New England Patriots have a habit of selecting special teams players in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. And they continued that in 2020 by selecting kicker Justin Rohrwasser.
Rohrwasser began his college career at Rhode Island before transferring to Marshall where he kicked the past two seasons. He made 18 of 21 field goals in his final season for the Thundering Herd, but none was more important than the final one he nailed against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
Playing as a part of the heated rivalry, Rohrwasser was summoned by coach Doc Holliday to kick a potential game-winning field goal. There were 6 seconds left on the clock and the score was tied at 23.
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With no timeouts, Marshall had to attempt the 53-yard field goal, which would be Rohrwasser's career-long. Before the attempt could be launched, Western Kentucky coach Tyson Helton tried to ice him with one of his two remaining timeouts. Rohrwasser still got the practice kick off and nailed it.
As Grant Taylor of The Herald-Dispatch describes, it was at that point that Rohrwasser knew he could make the kick and his confidence shifted into overdrive.
After the ball sailed through, Rohrwasser stared down the Western Kentucky sideline and motioned with his right hand, almost as if to say, ‘Come get me.’ Then, he walked to Marshall’s sidelines and motioned to his arm, as if to say he has ice in his veins.
Rohrwasser would go on to make another practice attempt after being iced again. And with Western Kentucky out of timeouts on his third attempt, he knew he'd have to make it to give Marshall the win.
He did, and that sparked elation from the Marshall crowd and made Rohrwasser the hero. He ended up making all four of his field goals, plus the two 53-yard practice kicks, to give the Thundering Herd the big win over their rivals. It was the best game of his collegiate career.
And what does Rohrwasser think this moment signifies? He knows how to perform in high-pressure situations.
"Every high-pressure situation I’ve been in I’ve performed," Rohrwasser said in a spring interview, per Mark Daniels of The Providence Journal. "I believe it's 14-for-14 in the fourth quarter and overtime, when the game is on the line, I am someone you can trust."
That's something that certainly will be music to the ears of Patriots fans. After years of having the dependable Stephen Gostkowski and Adam Vinatieri at kicker, the team will hope that Rohrwasser can continue the tradition of quality kicking under Bill Belichick.
If his game against Western Kentucky is any indication, he should have a good chance to live up to expectations in the NFL.