Jake Pinegar wasn’t one of the main takeaways from this past Saturday’s win over Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
— 🎞 (@PSU_films) September 20, 2022
After all, Penn State didn’t win by three, six or even 20 points.
It won by 29, so the outcome likely would have been the same whether Pinegar nailed the kick or sent it into the fifth row.
But Pinegar’s kick wasn’t insignificant.
First, it came at a point where, although Penn State had a comfortable 21-6 lead, the game wasn’t buried yet, and a miss, block or botched snap would have energized Jordan-Hare and, at least temporarily, given Auburn new life.
It was also crucial to Pinegar from a personal standpoint because a missed kick in any circumstance was the last thing he needed after a rough home opener.
In Penn State’s 46-10 win over Ohio, one of the few negatives was Pinegar’s performance.
He missed an extra point and a 42-yard field goal, and although that didn’t impact the game’s result, it could have started a downward spiral for the fifth-year kicker.
But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
Pinegar regrouped, went a combined 7-for-7 with two field goals and five extra points and played a part in a great day for Penn State football.
Pinegar never doubted himself heading into Auburn.
“For a while now, I’ve felt confident,” Pinegar told reporters via Zoom Tuesday. “I’ve been striking the ball really well, so I think it’s just a matter of getting those opportunities and chances and going out there and doing my job.”
For Pinegar’s first three seasons at Penn State, he started all 35 of Penn State’s games at placekicker.
During that time, he led the Big Ten in total points as a true freshman, made honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore and got on the Lou Groza Award watch list before his junior season.
Then, he kind of disappeared.
The combination of an injury and Jordan Stout’s talent led to Pinegar redshirting the 2021 season and Stout, now the Baltimore Ravens’ starting punter, becoming the team’s No. 1 placekicker.
After starting 35 straight games, Pinegar appeared in only two during the 2021 season.
Now, he’s back as the team’s No. 1 kicker, and he feels comfortable.
“It really hasn’t been that crazy,” he said. “It’s, I think, my fourth year of doing it, so it’s not like a crazy shock or something new, but it definitely feels good to be back out there doing what I can to help this team win. So far, everything’s going pretty well.”
Overall, things haven’t been perfect for Pinegar in his return to the starting kicker role, and the Ohio game demonstrated that.
But things are looking good for Penn State, and Pinegar is glad to be a part of it.
“There’s been some things I need to clean up, but then there’s also been some things that I’ve done well,” Pinegar said. “I think it’s just a matter of consistency, and I think what happened the other week is something that doesn’t ever happen. It was kind of weird. It just doesn’t happen. So (I’m) cleaning things up now, moving forward, but so far, (the season has) been ok.”