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The Historical Nature of the "Kick heard 'round the State"

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Harrison Butker propelled Tech in to Overtime with a 53 yard field goal. The longest ever made field goal by Tech was in 1986 by David Bell, 1982 by Ron Rice, and 1973 by E.O. Whealler (55 yards). Tech has only attempted 15 kicks of 55 yards or more missing all other attempts. Since Bell's record-tying kick, Tech has only tried kicks of 53 yards or more 11 times making only 2 of those kicks.

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Not from this game but only Butker pic available.
Not from this game but only Butker pic available.
Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

All the box score says in the final 18 seconds of 2014's Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate is the following:

T 1-10 T43 Thomas, J. rush left for 21 yards to the UGA36, 1ST DOWN GT, out-of-bounds (Leonard Floyd).
T 1-10 G36 Timeout Georgia, clock 00:04.
T 1-10 G36 Butker, H. field goal attempt from 53 GOOD, clock 00:00.

When Harrison lined up, I'll admit I was scared. There was historical evidence that indicated he would not make that kick. How historical? I went back through every stat sheet season-by-season on the internet all the way back to 1986. David Bell's 55 yard made field goal against uga on November 29, 1986 is still the most recent record tying kick.

In 1996, David Frakes only made 5 out of 11 kicks on the season but on October 5, 1996, he kicked the longest field goal since David Bell's. Frakes hit a kick of 53 yards in a 13-7 win over UVA. Butker's kick was the first made field goal of 53 yards or more since Frakes kick against UVA.

Here's a breakdown of every made and missed kick from 1986-2014. Tech was only 13 of 40 from 50 yards or more since 1986. 52 yards appears to be the max coaches sanely want to attempt as there have been 11 kick attempts of 52 yards since '86 but only 11 kick attempts from 53-62 yards since '86 and all were misses excluding Bell, Frakes, and Butker! Below is a breakdown of every kick since 1986 split by makes and misses:

fga1


The above chart is kinda tough because it is pure raw data encompassing 579 kick attempts over 40 different distances. So, I broke it down in to 5 yard breakdowns below:

fga2


Tech has played 235 games since its last made field goal of 53 yards or more. That's a lot of football. Next year's freshmen at Tech weren't born in 1996. Now, factor in the starting field position, JT's perfect scramble for 20+ yards, and you're talking about tiny odds of victory. uga fans have to be sick due to fact that Tech was put away. A tiny meteor literally struck Mark Richt as Venus, Mars, and Earth aligned forcing his mind to call a timeout to increase Butker's odds of making the kick. Right?