Missed kicks will haunt Alejandro Maldonado, Oregon

Senior runningback Kenjon Barner (24) offers words of encouragement to junior kicker Alejandro Maldonado (41) after he missed his first field goal attempt. (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

Senior runningback Kenjon Barner (24) offers words of encouragement to junior kicker Alejandro Maldonado (41) after he missed his first field goal attempt. (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

Posted by Jackson Long on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10:27 pm.

The pouring rain ceased just before kickoff, but the darkest clouds ever seen at Autzen hung over the stadium and cast shadows of misery on the faces of fans, players and coaches alike, following the toughest loss the Ducks have suffered since quite possibly the 2011 title game.

Marcus Mariota took moments at the press podium to collect himself, continually covering his face with his hands, before he answered questions. Kenjon Barner, who is notoriously soft-spoken, whispered his answers to the media.

A somber and almost inaudible Chip Kelly embodied the beaten Ducks team. “I think the Stanford defense got to all of us,” he said.

The only player the Cardinal defense didn’t get to was Alejandro Maldonado. The junior placekicker was untouched by Stanford defenders on both of his field goal attempts, but it didn’t matter as both of his kicks went awry all by themselves. Shots from 42 and 41 yards out both went any place except between the posts.

You hear that now-cliched phrase that the Oregon offense is like a “video game” a lot, with the Ducks putting up almost unfathomable statistics on a weekly basis. Well, on Saturday night against Stanford, the video game was broken, forcing the sparingly used Maldonado to shoulder some point-scoring responsibility for the Ducks. He couldn’t answer the call.

Despite being the starting kicker last season, Maldonado did not kick a field goal this season until last week against Cal, as Rob Beard had been doing the field goal kicking until a change was made after the USC game.

Maldonado’s lone attempt this year was a make from 26 yards. Last season he was seven of 12, with a career long of 40 yards.

If there was any luck behind Maldonado, he used it on his first extra point attempt after Oregon’s first touchdown (a strike from Mariota to Keanon Lowe), when his kick went off the post and still fell through the uprights.

Ahead 14-7 in the third quarter, the Ducks had a chance to make it a two-score lead after a fumble recovery in Stanford territory, but Oregon’s offense, which was stagnant all night aside from the two touchdown drives, could not get the ball into the end zone. Maldonado trotted out in an attempt to make his career-long from 42 yards. The kick went wide right.

In overtime, after the Ducks’ offense failed again, Maldonado took the field to try again from beyond his 40-yard record. Clank! Off the post and no good, Maldonado had missed again.

“You have to have a short memory with what happens,” Maldonado said. “We’re all gonna miss. Not every catch is going to be made, not every block is going to be made, but a lot of the weight is on me and I’m gonna take that because I have to come through no matter what.”

He is right. In that, the ire of fans will fall upon his foot, as it does with any kicker who misses the clutch ones.

“We know what his (Maldonado) distance is,” Kelly said. “When the ball is on the 33 and out a little bit that is when it becomes a range thing and that’s just from out work in the week and practice.”

When asked how he felt about having the job in which there is no glory, only blame, Maldonado answered the question the same he answered almost all others, saying that he “felt good and was stroking the ball in warm-ups.”

“I told those guys that things aren’t always gonna go your way,” Kelly said. “That’s life, that’s football. It hurts so bad because they have invested so much. I think everyone will run this game over forwards and backward and forwards and backwards and feel real bad about it for a little bit of time.”

  • disappointed duck fan

    Maldonado is terrible. He missed a game winner 25-30 yarder last year against USC, he clanked an extra point off the upright today, and missed two par untouched field goal attempts. Rob Beard has been a good starter and don’t understand at all why Maldonado got the nod over him after all of his fuck-ups.

  • dissapointed duck fan 2

    He’s garbage..

  • http://twitter.com/thelavisshow Mark Lavis

    I’ll come from a compassionate side. Alejandro, you are not fit for prime-time Big 5 conference football. My suggestion is to transfer to East Carolina or Ball State to finish out your career because next year these demons will not leave with this game now compacted on last year’s USC game. Do yourself and this university a favor and quietly exit. You are but what Darron Thomas and Cliff Harris are now in the minds of the general Duck population, a punchline.

  • sigh

    So in this game: Oregon’s offense is not what we’re used to seeing and perhaps the defense was also questionable, the victory of the game depended on field goals, people relied on Maldonado’s 30+ yards attempt (because the offense can’t bring the ball closer to the end zone) and of course he misses, the weather was extremely cold, and Baylor beats a BCS contender. Gee, deja vu much?

    Sigh, I still love my Ducks. Let’s beat Oregon State and pray the other teams screw up their next game.

    • JC

      I feel he mostly effs it up (especially when a BCS in on the line) when he has to it kick it from a 30+ yard line. I always hope that the Offense would bring the ball closer to the end zone so that Maldonado isn’t forced to kick it that ‘far’. I thought that the USC experience would make Maldonado work harder and become better enough to accurately kick it from the 40+ line. I was hoping he could redeem himself in this game not cause a deja vu… Let’s hope this doesn’t happen next year. If Maldonado is in a situation like this and fails, I feel he’s going to get beheaded next time.

  • Angry fan!

    I know it was the whole team that fucked up but this loser needs to be kicked off the team. He’s a worthless piece of shit and is a waste of a scholarship. Dump that fuckn kid now.

  • Bryan

    The real reason why Chip Kelly goes for it on 4th down so often = The Oregon Kicking Game Sucks

    I know, mathematically, going for it on 4th and short is good statistics. I love Kelly’s aggressive style. But the Stanford defense is on the other side of the bell curve, they are not a normal D, so you adjust the equation. You get points on the board early, deny a fired-up Stanford Defense from ge…
    tting the stop, take the 3 and get a psychological boost.

    “It’s difficult. It’s really difficult. It’s not difficult to go back to the routine (on Monday), but it’s difficult to just process this. It happened really fast. It was like four seconds and your out there kicking the ball. You hope it for it to go in.” -Alejandro Maldonado

    No, you do not hope. You are a kicker. Other than some token tackles and the occasional trick plays, that is all you do. You practice sunup to sundown until hitting 50 yarders under pressure is routine. Calibrate your kick so you’re splitting the posts, not wishing for a lucky bounce off the uprights. Hundreds of kicks per week until it is automatic. You don’t hope, you do it well and so often, you KNOW it’s going in.

    Good, clutch college kickers are hit 80%-90% of kicks. You average around 58% over 2 seasons.

    Previous to yesterday, Maldonado had 1 kick attempt all season (a 26 yarder against Cal which he made). On the year, OR is 5/11 on kicking FGs. That’s unacceptable. Yesterday, Maldonado missed two clutch FGs and bounced a PAT off the upright. He is the same kicker who missed a crucial FG against USC last year, in our only Pac-12 loss.

    Except for D, the whole OR rhythm was off yesterday. But that is when kickers earn their keep. They rise up to keep the team in the game. For specialty positions you hire a specialist. There are 16 year old high school kickers with a stronger leg and more grace under pressure than Maldonado. Oregon needs to free up a scholarship and pursue one of them as soon as possible.

  • Alaskan Duck

    Mark, you are too compassionate. I would assume East Carolina and Ball State already have better kickers. Might I suggest Oberlin College?

  • Benniwise

    What is terrible is the fact that these so called “fans” are representing Oregon. You live and die by the sword. We got out played. There is a reason that Chip put him in the game. If you want to be upset, be upset at our recruitment of a kicker. How will we ever get a kicker worth his salt when he will barely see the game? Oregon isn’t a field goal team. But some of these comments are down right embarrassing. #GO DUCKS

  • luca

    If De’Anthony had been thinking enough to block #5 on Mariota’s long run, Oregon would of scored a touchdown and the momentum of the game would have been shifted tremendousley in our favor very early on. Kenjon Barner looked as slow as mollasses each time he touched the ball and Marshall didn’t get in for one play. The punt team coverage was terrible, they had several oppurtunities to down the ball inside the five, but they watched the return mad who fooled them with his fake faircatch at the 20 and Stanford got a touchback each time. The replay official made a gutsy call to say the least in reversing the ruling on the field of an incomplete pass. The refs had some miserable call on the field and they slowed Oregon down pretty much whenever they could, I don’t think they could have picked a worse head referee for that game.. If Oregon’s defense had been able to recover that fumble in overtime we would have gone to a second overtime with a little momentum and Maldonado wouldn’t be the goat. This was a close game and a bad loss to a great Stanford team who will likely become pac 12 north champs and take on UCLA in the pac 12 championship, remember they were one questionable call away to going to a second overtime @ ND assuming they made the PAT. Kansas State’s loss to lowley Baylor was a bad loss to a bad team and that is something to be sad about if you’re a K-State fan.

  • anna sun

    never forget he drilled a critical field goal in the rose bowl. one player doesn’t lose a game

    • ChristSandwich

      Sorry hun, but you’re wrong. One player absolutely loses the game. If the offense gets the kicker within scoring distance with a few ticks left, against a very good defense (Stanford), and the kicker misses, that player lost the game. Especially if it happens twice. Maldonado LOST that Stanford game. He also LOST that USC game because both Offenses were good that game and both defenses were NOT that good that game- meaning that the teams were pretty evenly matched. Save your weak optimism please.

  • MooleyBooleyTroll


    Auburn, LSU, and Stanford… See the pattern here? Big n Fast Defense > Fast Gimmicky Offense :)

    • Big Meech

      Auburn Did Not Do Anything With Cam Newton that game he was Limited plus look where there at now though. LSU capitalize on Oregon De. Thomas mistake and Kenjon mistake had short field to work from Oregon still put up stats and Stanford same defense last year we put up 50 now we just had a freshman QB Against the same D Cm on Seriously.

  • Big Meech

    Alejandro Maldonado will always go down as the man that kept Oregon for two straight back to back National Championships. Don’t know why here Last Year Beat Usc=Natty, This Year Beat Stanford= Playing For A Natty. That would make Chip Kelly Go down as Oregon an college football great coach.

  • maldonado blows

    Rob Beard should be Oregon’s kicker. He can make 35 yard kicks. It’s as simple as that. He could have put us into overtime vs. USC last year, and he could have won the game vs. Stanford. Those two kicks are the only thing separating the ducks from BCS title games in 2011 and 2012

    • Big Meech


  • no bueno

    I blame Chip Kelly. He didn’t learn from last year, and we repeated the same mistakes and lost in the same way. Where is his blind faith in this mexican kid coming from? Clearly not from his play on the field.

    • big meech

      its 50/50
      Alejandro Maldonado should have learned from his mistakes