Successful debut for Garoutte

Much like golfer, a placekicker's success is rooted just as much in one's mental aptitude as it is in their pure athletic skill. Therefore, no one knew what to expect from an inexperienced Alex Garoutte in ASU's season opener last week. Yet, the redshirt freshman exhibited composure beyond his years which led him to a perfect night at Sun Devil stadium.

In Arizona State's 48-14 victory over UC Davis, Alex Garoutte converted all of his six extra point attempts to go along with his two field goals from 49 and 25 yards respectively. It may not be pure tranquility that aided the kicker in his feat, but his frame of mind was obviously in the proper place.

"I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be," stated Garoutte. "When I'm out on a game field I don't try to kick the ball as hard, but the adrenalin makes up for me not kicking as hard. So I feel that I have a slightly different form and the ball still goes. In practice I don't have that adrenalin rush. But I got to be consistent all the time so I can have the confidence of everyone."

By his own admission, the redshirt freshman was at times unpredictable with his performance in fall camp, but in last week's contest that trend seemed like a distant memory. Garoutte realizes that some may have been surprised by his first ever performance as a Sun Devil, but he on the other expected to have nothing but a solid showing on that stage.

"I've always thought of myself as a game time player," Garoutte explained. "I know I'm a kicker and it has changed for me from years past (played also as a safety locally at Phoenix Brophy). But I'd like to think of myself as an athlete and a gamer. When the pressure is on is when I feel I do best.

"So yes, it probably wasn't was everybody expected with what happened throughout camp, being inconsistent. But I wasn't surprised everything went my way."

The icing on the cake of Garoutte's impressive night, was converting a 49-yard field goal just before halftime, an achievement which is extremely impressive regardless of the level of play it is achieved at.

"It felt great and the ball was going straight," Garoutte recalled. "If you watch the film Josh (Hubner, ASU's punter and field goal holder) knew it was going in before I did. I'm still looking at the ball and Josh is already on the sidelines celebrating.

"I liked having that as my first field goal experience."

His ASU debut included even a special teams tackle, which ultimately prevented a long kickoff return by the Aggies.

"I'd like to think of myself as more than a kicker, but I'm just a kicker and there is nothing I can do about it," Garoutte remarked. "I guess it kind of showed with my tackle. It looked just OK. I didn't make a huge hit or anything. I guess I was showing that I can make plays.

"That was the best game of my entire life. I have been looking forward to that day since I can ever remember. It's always has been my dream and I couldn't asked for it to go any better. I know it was a blowout (win) but every kick was so important to me and I just wanted to go out there and do as best as I can and it worked out well."

The excitement level for Garoutte, and his teammates for that matter, will undoubtedly kick up several notches this week as ASU hosts #21 Missouri on a nationally televised telecast Friday night. To say that the Tempe and the Sun Devil nation is abuzz over this game would probably be an understatement. Nonetheless, Garoutte and the maroon and gold are taking the days leading up to this match up in stride.

"I don't think players are getting caught up in the hype so much," Garoutte claimed, "knowing that we have a real opponent in front of us this week, compared to last week. Not to undermine them (UC Davis) but against them we did what we had to do.

"I think the team is going in this week expecting to win, but they also know that they will have to do everything right in order to get that win. It's a business and we are here to get wins and that's pretty much all that is to it."


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