Freshman Kicker Steps Up for Boilermakers

September 30, 1998

By Brian Remsberg
Purdue Athletic Public Relations Student Assistant

One of the bright spots the Purdue football team can take away from the 31-30 loss at Notre Dame on Sept. 19 is the play of freshman place kicker Travis Dorsch.

Dorsch made all three of his field goal attempts (from 37, 40 and 47-yards), the last of which appeared to put the game away for the Boilermakers. The kick came with 7:52 to play and gave Purdue a 30-21 lead, but the Fighting Irish came back with a touchdown and a field goal to claim the victory. Dorsch waited on the sidelines hoping for one more field goal chance that might have won the game for Purdue, but Tony Drivers second interception of the game left Dorsch wondering what might have been.

A three sport star at Bozeman High School in beautiful Montana, Dorsch was an all-state selection in football, basketball and baseball his senior year. So how did the first team USA Today football All-American end up in West Lafayette? "When I came out here for my visit the players and coaches I met and the campus itself impressed me a great deal," Dorsch says. "I felt really comfortable here, and this is where I wanted to be."

One other major reason Dorsch came to Purdue was football coach Joe Tillers willingness to let him play baseball, as well. Dorsch will join fellow grid iron player Mike Rose on the baseball team as a right-handed pitcher. Although Dorsch wont be playing basketball, he said he is excited to attend the games. "Im looking forward to seeing coach Keady and all his guys, it will be exciting," Dorsch says.

The first three games Dorsch handled all the kicking duties, including kickoffs, but last week special teams coach Scott Downing pulled Dorsch off kickoffs. Sophomore Aaron Bunten will handle those duties for now. "He is just kicking off better than I am right now," Dorsch said. "It definitely helped me on Saturday to be able to focus on one thing, having Aaron step up and do that really helps the team right now."

Downing also had an opportunity to coach another excellent kicker, 1996 All-American Cory Wedel, at Wyoming. Although Wedel was a much smaller, left-footed kicker who used a different style, Downing still finds it easy to compare the 6-foot-6 Dorsch with Wedel. "The biggest similarity is mental," Downing says. "They are both really strong mentally, really focused mentally, they work hard at it, work long hours by themselves and are harder on themselves than anybody else could be."

Dorsch has set goals for himself and for the team. "I would like to make the freshman All-America team," he says. "I think that is a goal that is definitely attainable. I just need to keep my head down and keep working on all aspects of what Im doing. Last year we had (wide receiver) Vinny Sutherland make it, and its definitely realistic since we get the attention here, we have some games on TV." As for the team, Dorsch says the goal is to win alot of games and get to a bowl game. "Whether its the Rose Bowl or the Humanitarian Bowl, we just want to win," he says.

If Dorsch continues to hold up his end of the bargain the Boilermakers should have a very good chance of making their second straight bowl appearance. Dorsch has made four of six field goals and has been perfect on all 13 extra-point attempts. If last weekends game was a sign of things to come from Dorsch, the Boilermakers surely have found themselves a solid place kicker for years to come.




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