BATON ROUGE, La. -- All Alexis Serna had to do was make one kick, one lousy extra point, and Oregon State's upset for the ages would have been complete. Those stereotypes about the Pac-10 not being able to muscle up to the likes of LSU would have been busted.
What the BCS couldn't put together (Southern California-Louisiana State), Serna could have ripped apart with one swing of the leg. With the world watching, Serna couldn't make a simple kick that would have brought Southern football to its knees.
|Alexis Serna is frustrated after his third missed PAT costs Oregon State a chance in second OT. (AP)|
Somewhere, a Florida State kicker past, present or future was wincing. This is Miami week (again). Serna either foreshadowed another kicking disaster Friday night or upstaged the Seminoles by missing early.
"It really hurt," Oregon State quarterback Derek Anderson said of the loss. "I'm not going to lie."
Tell it to Northwestern. This first full weekend of ball is shaping up to be kickers' hell week. Northwestern's Brett Huffman missed five field goals Thursday against TCU. That's a goose egg so depressing the NCAA record book doesn't list a record for it.
"I told him there is not a lot you can say," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said of his kicker.
The scenario is familiar when a kicker screws up. All-Americans were throwing their 300-pound bodies around here. Olympic-quality sprinters were catching passes. And the game was basically decided by a 5-foot-7, 157-pounder from Fontana, Calif., who had eight high school field goals to his credit before playing in his first college game.
It ended ignominiously for the Beavers -- 18-point underdogs -- and their kicker. They blew 9-0 and 15-7 leads only to lose to the No. 4 Tigers 22-21 in overtime. Understandably, 91,828 went ga-ga after Serna pushed his extra point wide right after Anderson's touchdown pass had pulled the Beavers to within a point in that first OT.
"I just told him to shake it off," said LSU kicker Chris Jackson, the first to reach Serna. "It happens to everybody. It just so happens it happens in a place like this and everybody sees it."
Yeah, as if that's any consolation. Serna had Xavier Betia, Scott Norwood and any other disgraced kicker written all over him. After the miss, he ripped off his helmet and threw it to the wet turf. The most intimidating stadium in college ball celebrated, half in relief, half in Serna's failure.
Everybody sees it? Uh, yeah. Millions of people were watching on television -- parents, friends, a girlfriend, perhaps. Oregon State sports information director Steve Fenk was so shaken he wouldn't even ask Serna to speak to the media.