LOGAN – Saturday night’s 60-13 win over New Mexico State was a nice revenge game for Utah State. For the kicker, it was record breaking.
Dominik Eberle made six field goals during the game, a conference record.
Three of those were from 50-plus yards, another conference record. Before Eberle, only six players in college football had ever done that.
In addition to the field goals, Eberle connected on six extra points, totaling 24 points in all. That number set a conference record and tied the top NCAA mark.
The record-breaking night was also a redemptive one. It came against the same team Eberle missed four field goals against in the 2017 Arizona Bowl. Prior to that game, Eberle had only missed two all season.
“That kid took a lot of grief over the last time we played that team in his performance,” head coach Matt Wells said, “which was really the only substandard one he’s had since he’s been here. So its nice to see him start off the year like this, obviously in great form.”
The post-Arizona Bowl disappointment Eberle felt was reflected in a social media post shortly after.
“I love every single one of my teammates with all my heart,” he wrote on Twitter. “I truly appreciate their support. I apologize to all of Aggie Nation, all I wanted to do is make y’all happy. This game however will not impact me. Motivated as ever to come back stronger from this.”
It was different for Eberle Saturday.
“You should have seen him in the locker room a minute ago,” Wells said. “It’s just pure excitement for that kid, because he is a great teammate.”
Eberle himself outscored New Mexico State 24-13, but he made it clear his performance wasn’t motivated by revenge.
“Their coach, I have a lot of respect for,” he said. “He said a lot of positive things about me.”
When the game concluded Eberle was just one point shy of becoming the sole NCAA record holder. The Aggie offense was on the field in the game’s final minutes, and the crowd was chanting for one more kick. But Eberle said he knew he wouldn’t get another attempt – and he was fine with that.
“As they were chanting Coach Wells was telling me, ‘We’re not going to kick it no matter what,’” Eberle said. “It’s more of sportsmanship. In the end a record is a record, but we’re not trying to go down on another team or run up the score for any unnecessary means. Part of sportsmanship is, if you have the record tied, be satisfied with that.”
Saturday’s game will likely give Eberle an early leg up for the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the nation’s top kicker. Eberle finished as a finalist for the award a season ago.