Stytz Earns CCIW Recognition

The Observer sat down with senior kicker Jacob Stytz and discussed his tenure at Augustana and his recent historic performance against Carroll. Stytz, who was awarded CCIW Special Teams Player of the Week, tied a school record with four field goals, which included a 52-yarder that ranks as the second longest in school history.
1.) How long have you been playing the kicker position?
“I’ve been doing it for about nine years. I started in eighth grade. I used to play soccer, and we had a joint town thing for one of the football leagues. I was actually on the waiting list, and it was by pure chance that I got in. Someone got injured and I was the only person on the waiting list, or otherwise I would have played soccer. I joined and they needed a kicker, so I gave it a try and it went from there.”
2.) Did you know you had the ability to make a 52-yarder?

“I had some nerves because long kicks haven’t always gone my way in the past. But I have hit those kicks numerous times in practice and even further back than that, so I knew I could do it. It was just a matter of actually doing it.” 
3.) Why did you select Augie four years ago?
“They have a really good pre-med program here, first of all. And my grandparents live about 20 minutes away, so they could come to my games. And my family lives about two hours away, so it’s not too terrible of a distance and I could get a decent crowd of fans every game. And when I visited here continuously, I liked the campus more and more, and it worked out well because I love it here.”
4.) How do you feel about your development over the last four years?
“My maturity is something that I have seen, especially this year with being in certain situations and performing. Like, last year, I missed a game-tying kick at Carthage, and I’ve bounced back from that. And my sophomore year I went into a slump, and I also bounced back from that. So I think my maturity has gotten more and more prominent.”
5.) Do you plan to use your kicking skills anywhere after college?
“If some opportunity arose, I would probably entertain it. But I will probably play soccer in some club soccer or adult soccer leagues here and there.”
6.) Given your in-game reps are often in stressful situations, do you feel an extra sense of pressure as a kicker?
“The pressure is always there, and part of the kicking game is being able to handle that. A lot of people say they understand it, but I don’t think they always do unless they are in that position. A quarterback can throw an interception, and the next drive they get to go out and prove that it was just a small mistake. For kickers, if we miss a kick, that could be it. We may not get a chance again. But that is just part of the job and having the mental fortitude to get through that.” 
7.) What is your key to keeping calm under pressure?
“I just put myself in a zone. I lock-in and can tune everything out. It’s kind of surreal, almost. We do those ‘chaos kicks’ in practice with all the guys surrounding me, and I don’t really hear people. It’s basically just me and my job.” 
8.) How do you respond to the “you’re just a kicker” theme that is often thrown out there?
“I usually just try to play along with it, honestly. At this point, what are you going to do? I just try to let my performance speak for itself, and go along with it and give it right back. I used to actually make little bets with people to see if they could make a certain amount of kicks or something, and I got free pizza and stuff out of it.” 
9.) What are some of your personal hopes for the rest of the season?
“I want to be an All-American this year. Last year it was All-conference, and I was happy with that, but I also want to keep going and see what I can do. I want to beat some more records, get the All-Conference, the All-American, and just top what I did last year.”
10.) What are your hopes for the team?
“I’d love for us to be able to finish our games. We’ve been so close all three games, and I know it’ll get the ball rolling once we do finish. People will get more confident. I think we may just have a little lack of confidence. The talent is definitely there, and I don’t think anyone can argue that because we have been in every single one of the games so far. So we’re in all these games, we’re always competitive, and the big plays are there, but we just have to finish them.”