TCU’s Jonathan Song closing college career (almost) perfectly

TreVontae Hights tries to rattle TCU kicker Jonathan Song in practice.

Hights will do just about anything to get in Song’s head. Hights loves to remind Song who wins more often than not when they play FIFA Soccer.

But nothing seems to distract Song.

“I’m the main one in his ear trying to make him miss a field goal in practice,” Hights said. “But he’s poised. The cliché of practice makes perfect is going into full effect right now because he’s poised in practice and it shows in the game.”

Yes it has.

Song has gone from a guy who coach Gary Patterson openly questioned throughout fall camp to one of the Frogs’ most consistent players this season.

Song has been almost perfect, connecting on 15-of-16 field goals and making all 29 of his point-after attempts through eight games. All of it has Song atop the Big 12 in made field goal attempts and conversion percentage (93.8%).

Oh, and he was named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award on Thursday, an honor that goes to the nation’s top kicker. TCU’s had just one winner in its history with Michael Reeder in 1995.

But, as Song said earlier this week, “Personal accolades are great, but there’s a lot of improvement for myself as well.

“Moving forward I’ve got to make the rest of the kicks for the rest of the season as well.”

Song will look to continue trending in the right direction when TCU (4-4, 2-3 Big 12) hosts undefeated and 12th-ranked Baylor (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) on Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.

This is a game that is expected to be close and TCU has to feel comfortable if the game comes down to Song’s foot.

After all, he’s thrived in those situations before. Song made the game-winning 27-yard field goal in TCU’s 10-7 overtime victory over Cal in last year’s Cheez-It Bowl. He also connected on a 28-yarder to score the go-ahead points of a 17-14 victory over Iowa State last year.

“It’s always great to have those feelings,” said Song, who played high school football at Fort Worth All Saints.

“I never had a game-winning kick until last season. It’s great to know the guys have my back and I have their back no matter the situation in a game. I’m just ready to be there if I’m needed.”

Song couldn’t have scripted a better senior season to date, or a better college career.

This season has seen him earn Big 12 special teams player of the week honors for his career-best five field goals in the season-opening victory against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The only blemish for Song is a missed 42-yarder in TCU’s victory over Kansas, something he can now smile about.

“Looking back, the only thing I may regret was that it was on my birthday,” Song said, grinning. “Obviously I would’ve loved to make that one for the team. Personally, I just move on to the next one. There’ll be other opportunities.”

Song usually makes the most of those opportunities, particularly if it’s inside 40 yards. Song is 31-of-32 from 40 yards and in throughout his career.

He also hasn’t missed an extra point since the 2017 season (Oct. 21, 2017 vs. Kansas). He’s made 54 consecutive PATs since his last miss and is 94-of-96 in his college career.

Song has made 32-of-36 career field goals and has highest career field goal percentage (88.9%) in program history. He’s also on pace to join the 200-point club.

Song has scored 190 points to date with 32 field goals and 94 PATs.

As his college career enters the final stretch, Song has no complaints.

“It’s been everything and more,” Song said. “You kind of come into it, you think you know what to expect, but now that I’m a fifth-year senior — the alumni relations, the experiences and opportunities that I’ve been blessed with since being here — has been surreal.

“It’s just been an amazing experience. I would never take it back for anything.”

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