COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A pesky little gnat buzzed about Brad Craddock's shaggy mop-hair for an interminable amount of time while he met with media in the Gossett Football Team House on Oct. 4 after the Terps-Ohio State football game.
The little bugger wouldn't go away, encircling his head time after time at a dizzying pace.
But Craddock isn't letting anything get under his skin these days.
The Terps junior place-kicker -- and now biggest weapon -- kept his perfect streak of 11 field goals on the season intact, including a school-record 57-yard first quarter boot, which eclipsed the old marks of Terps' kicking legends Nick Novak and Steve Mike-Mayer (both 54 yards).
It also gave the amiable Aussie, whose parents just arrived this week from "Down Under" for a nine-week stay, five kicks of 46-plus yards this season, while he is a perfect 25-of-25 with point-after attempts as well.
Craddock's bomb on Oct. 4 in Maryland's first Big Ten home game was also the second-longest field goal in the FBS this season, while it extended his consecutive made field goals mark to 17, besting another all-time UMD great, Dale Castro's 16.
Craddock's 57-yarder in the first quarter got the Terps on the board against the Buckeyes, and he knocked through three PATs later despite shaky snaps from new freshman long snapper Nate Adams, who was subbing for injured Christian Carpenter.
Craddock, who leads the Terps in scoring with 58 points, takes everything in stride. His parents arrived after their 26-hour flight this week, in time to take their son out to Applebees for dinner before the BIG game. Did anyone think they could jinx their son coming in after he had gone 10-for-10 on the season?
"I honestly don't think about them. Like I went out there and nodded at them. Me, I don't think about them unless I can see them," Craddock said with a laugh.
Craddock said he wasn't expecting to go out for the 57-yarder, but gladly trotted out.
"I didn't really even think about the conditions or anything. I just ran out there because I was going to get the clock right. I didn't think about the distance at all," Craddock said. "The wind was behind me and I hit it real solid, and you know when you hit the ball right, it's like good. I didn't even see it go through, but I am glad it did."
Craddock said he takes it one kick at a time, and doesn't want to dwell on streaks or being perfect. But he said in warm-ups he hit some 55-yarders Saturday so was feeling good. There was also a good wind at his back on the line-drive he slammed for 57 yards.
Said Maryland senior corner J.J. Johnson:
"Man, it's exciting and I am so excited for him. But honestly I don't expect anything less. There wasn't one second in my mind I doubted he's going to make that kick. He has kicked long kicks like that in practice numerous times," Johnson said.
Added Terps senior nose tackle Darius Kilgo after the game:
"It's just great to have that weapon. Knowing you have a field goal kicker that is perfect, well it makes you feel really good. I knew he was going to get it from 57 yards," Kilgo said.
And there was a new look in the kicking game this week, with the true freshman Adams stepping in. Craddock worked all week with him after Carpenter hurt his back. Adams signed out of Arizona late this past recruiting cycle, and it's a good thing for the Terps he did at the shallow position.
"Nate did awesome," Craddock said. "Everything this week was working on his timing, and I think he just didn't think about it on that first one. It was perfect, because if he had been a little off I wouldn't have been able to one-step from 57 [laugh]. But he did a great job, I am really proud of the kid, and [holder] Michael [Tart] also did a great job getting the ball down and being consistent all day."
They found out early in the practice week, and Craddock walked Adams through it and helped him fight off some pre-game jitters at the pre-game meal as well. Adams had two shaky snaps on point-after attempts Oct. 4 that Craddock (and Tart) were able to adjust to and convert.
And like the precise, student of the game Randy Edsall lauds him for, Craddock will spend the early part of this week's bye week working again with Matt Stover, continuing to perfect his craft with the Super Bowl champion former Baltimore Ravens specialist.
"Ah, lots of stuff. I have so much in my upper body I need to fix, a couple things in my tempo and my kickoff. There's a list," the modest Craddock quipped of what still needs work.
Craddock continues to lead a resurgent Terps special teams this fall. In practice he regularly booms field goals of similar distance, and he said the coaches know his range is at least 55 yards. He said the atmosphere at Byrd equally lifted him as well.
"It was awesome. It was pretty loud in there and the team was really pumped up," Craddock said of the Big Ten home opener. "And it's awesome having my name up there with Nick Novak and the guys like that. It's awesome, but we lost, so...
"But I am confident in my technique, which is the biggest thing, and I expect to do it. I still need a lot of work, I have only been doing it for 2 1/2 years, so I still need to get better."
Craddock Keeps Perfect Streak Alive
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