HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - When junior placekicker Briggs Bourgeois went down with an injury during USM’s spring football game, coach Jay Hopson was unsure who to turn to.
“It was my biggest concern leaving spring practice and the spring game,” Hopson said. "I watched Briggs get carted off the field on a 40-yard field goal and I was like, ‘What in the world?’ We’re about to have to go for 2 [points].”
The Golden Eagles ended up turning to true freshman Andrew Stein – who has knocked in 14 of his 14 point after attempts this season.
The Slidell native said he’s been kicking since his freshman year at Northshore High School. While he was confident in his ability, Stein didn’t expect to be called upon so early in his college career. “I didn’t know if I was going to get to play or not,” Stein said. “[Bourgeois] had his injury in the spring game and it just worked out that it’s my time to step up. I just gotta fill his shoes right now.”
Stein has done a nice job of filling in those shoes – or cleats, rather. The right-footed freshman is averaging 62 yards on kickoffs with nine touchbacks.
He is 6-for-8 on field goal attempts with a long of 39 yards. Stein believes his miss from 36 yards at Mississippi State flushed some nerves. Since then, he has not missed a kick inside 40 yards.
“I never want to miss but just to get that out the way and get back in my groove,” Stein said. "It's been going good so far. I’ve had really great support from all my teammates and other specialists. I'm just blessed to be in the position I am right now to be playing as a freshman."
“Andrew’s come in and done a good job, we’ve asked a lot of him,” Hopson said. “He’s just a true freshman. He’s made some big kicks and he’s done a great job kicking off. We’ve been really proud of Andrew and we’re glad he’s a Golden Eagle."