MONTICELLO — With 7:53 left in the third quarter and Arkansas-Monticello leading Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) 34-7, freshman kicker Jamie McGee had an opportunity to tie the UAM record for field goals made in a single season.
The 32-yard attempt sailed wide right as McGee missed the record-tying field goal. But he said the thought of the record had no effect on the attempt.
“It didn’t even cross my mind,” McGee said. “Every field goal is the same. Nothing really changes.
“It didn’t play a factor, it was just a miss.”
UAM head coach Hud Jackson agreed.
“No. Not at all,” Jackson, who is also the special teams coach, said. “It was just a miss. He’ll get his opportunities.”
The Boll Weevils (4-3, 3-3 Great American Conference) defeated LU-Belleville 41-27 on Saturday at Willis “Convoy” Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium for its fourth straight win at home.
McGee did make a 42- and a 39-yard field goal in the game to put him one make away from tying Kevin Craft’s single season record of 15 made field goals set in 1999. McGee has made 14-of-16 on the year.
“I feel pretty good,” McGee said. “Had a chance in the last game and I still have plenty of chances.
“I feel confident about the record.”
The two-time GAC Special Teams Player of the Week has already tied UAM’s single-game record for field goals twice in the first seven games of his career with three made against Northwestern Oklahoma State and another three against Harding two weeks ago.
“I don’t think Jamie has even been aware of that stuff,” Jackson said. “It is not at the top of his list of priorities.
“He has been very consistent and he has helped us win football games. … But I believe Jamie can break his own record over and over again.”
McGee is also 20-for-22 on point after attempts and has climbed to the top spot in all of Division II with an average of two made field goals per game.
“I worked really hard in the offseason and I knew coming in I would have a big role to play,” McGee said. “A lot of the hard work has paid off.
“I just need to keep doing what I’m doing in practice and just do the same thing I’ve done every day.”
Last season, junior Reagan Wise made just three field goals all season. His longest was a 32-yard field goal against College of Faith in the season opener. Wise was also 17-of-20 on extra point attempts. Lane Crowley was 15-of-15 on extra points attempts and hit 7 of 12 field goals in 2011.
One of the biggest goals for the Weevils in the offseason was to find a kicker who could not only be counted on in crucial situations but also be more consistent.
“We knew if we could get (McGee), we felt like we would get a great kicker,” Jackson said. “He is a laid back kid and understands the importance of his role and can get beyond his bad days.
“He just has the right mindset. He is confident but not egotistical. He is just good.”
McGee is a native of Lake Charles, La., and a graduate of Barbe High School.
“Having him on our team is just huge,” Jackson said. “I think the other schools missed out and we are fortunate enough to have him.”
Jackson could tell McGee was a special kind of player when he started recruiting him.
“He works extremely hard,” Jackson said. “He went to a very competitive school and was put in some tough situations in high school but he was able to handle the pressure.”
Jackson said McGee has a “live leg and the ball just comes off his foot.”
“I felt right away that he was a good player,” Jackson said.
McGee still has four games left – including this week’s game against Southern Nazarene (0-7, 0-7 GAC) – to try to break Craft’s record. Southern Nazarene lost 66-17 to Southern Arkansas last week.
“It feels great,” McGee said of UAM’s turnaround this season. “Coming from a 1-10 season last year.
“Coach Hud has done a really good job. I feel really good about this season and hopefully the success continues.”