NC State football kicker Chris Dunn prepared for redemption against Clemson – The Fayetteville Observer

  • September 29, 2022

RALEIGH — Christopher Dunn wears a relaxed expression to go along with his relaxed outfit — a black Holiday Bowl sweatshirt and sweats — while examining the new pool table in the NC State football facility on Wednesday afternoon.
That expression changes when he discusses the worst night of his college football career.
On Sept. 25, 2021, the NC State football kicker missed three field goals during a 27-21 double-overtime home win over Clemson, including a 39-yard attempt that would’ve won the game at the end of regulation. While his team celebrated, Dunn received death threats and was forced to delete his social media accounts.
“I had to take a long, hard look in the mirror and evaluate what I was doing and what I needed to change to be successful,” Dunn told the USA TODAY Network this week. “(The game against Clemson) was my lowest point. But it was also, my starting point.”
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Over the past year, Dunn has changed his diet and workout routine, gotten lighter pads and a new style of cleats. During the summer, he attended several kicking camps across the country and rebuilt his kicking swing from the ground up.
“Football is a game of inches, but for kickers, it’s really a game of centimeters,” said Dunn, who suffered a minor injury last week during a fake field goal attempt against UConn, but still plans to kick against Clemson. “Everything has to go right from snap to kick, and while everything is very mentally based, being more consistent in every area I can will lead to more success.”
Dunn began taking practice time more seriously. He’s the only player who comes to the field with his own backpack, a variable assortment of kicking gear — stretching bands, speed ladders, running parachutes, laminated cards with kicking reps — that he uses to improve his strength and accuracy.
“I felt like I had taken my ability and my natural gift to kick for granted,” Dunn said. “I needed to be more detailed and disciplined so I changed the ways I do business. I’m grateful now that I went through that because I wouldn’t be in the situation that I’m in now without it. I wouldn’t be the kicker I am today.”
Dunn, the program’s all-time points leader, finished the 2021 season with 12 made field goals on 14 attempts and is 5-for-5 in 2022 as the No. 10 Wolfpack (4-0, 0-0) travel to No. 5 Clemson (4-0, 2-0) Saturday night with a chance to knock off the Tigers at home and end their 36-game winning streak at Memorial Stadium (7:30 p.m., ABC).
Of course, kicking of any sort Saturday could be a dubious proposition as Hurricane Ian makes its way up the East Coast toward South Carolina. Dunn said the team has been preparing to play in inclement weather, including the kickers, who have been practicing with wet footballs throughout the week.
Dunn said he plans to use a firmer cleat during the game and apply foot covers on the sideline to keep them dry. If he gets a chance, though, Dunn is prepared for redemption.
“Hopefully I’ll give myself a chance to knock down a game-winner this weekend,” he said. “I’m ready to rewrite that part of my story.”