South Carolina kicker Parker White was 0-for-4 on his first four career kicks. With seven seconds left in Saturday's game with the Gamecocks trailing by two, he had the chance to put it all behind him.
And he did just that.
White had missed two field goals in the first half, which prompted a talk with head coach Will Muschamp. Muschamp told the true freshman that the team would need him to make not just a kick, but the kick.
“You’re going the distance” Muschamp told White. “We’re going to put you back in there to kick the ball, and you need to make the kick and you will probably win the game for us.”
“The biggest thing as a kicker is you gotta forget about the previous kicks, just move on to the next one,” White said when asked about his two missed field goals.
Before the 31-yard attempt, Louisiana Tech used both of its timeouts to try and ice White, who said that strategy did not have an effect on him.
"It just takes another minute, minute and a half to kick the ball,” White said.
After the Gamecock kickers missed three field goals in their Week 3 loss to Kentucky, there was a lot of negativity surrounding White and fellow kicker Alexander Woznick, especially on social media.
“It really just comes down to that last kick ... I think I [did] a pretty good job of flushing [the negativity] out,” White said.
This was White’s first career game-winning kick at any level. When the clock hit zero after the ensuing kickoff, he ran into the student section to celebrate with his peers.
“Honestly, it hadn’t set in yet ... It just still felt it was practice or something,” White said. “But after everyone coming up and high-fiving, and seeing the students, I took a look up at the scoreboard and saw that we were ahead by one and it just, it was a special feeling.”
Quarterback Jake Bentley, who happens to be White’s roommate, said White was down all week following the Kentucky loss. Bentley told White he was going to need to make one for the team.
“He really rebounded in a big way this week at practice ... He kept his confidence, just kept battling," Bentley said.
As a quarterback, Bentley is familiar with some of the negativity on social media that White experienced.
“All that we need is our family of brothers on our team," Bentley said. "Everyone on our team believes in him ... He honestly laughed about most of it. He has a great sense of humor and doesn’t let that stuff affect him, but I mean he just goes out and works every day."