Penn State Football

How former Penn State kicker Sam Ficken gave Jets fans something to cheer about Monday night

New York Jets Sam Ficken (9) kicks a field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Jets Sam Ficken (9) kicks a field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) AP

After landing on two different NFL rosters during the offseason, Sam Ficken may have found a home in a stadium very familiar to him. The former Penn State Nittany Lion made his 2019 debut Monday night on national television when he split the uprights on a 46-yard field goal attempt for the New York Jets in the team’s 23-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

The 26-year-old signed with the Jets on Sept. 10, after they cut their Week 1 kicker Kaare Vedvik, who missed a field goal and an extra point in the team’s season-opening 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Ficken’s make on Monday night elicited loud cheers from the crowd in East Rutherford, New Jersey, that could be heard on ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast. The kick was one of the few bright spots for the Jets Monday night, who were playing without starting QB Sam Darnold, who’s sidelined with mononucleosis, and saw QB2 Trevor Siemian go down with a season-ending ankle injury.

Prior to signing with the Jets, Ficken bounced around during the offseason. He signed a reserve/future contract with the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 11 before he was waived on April 13. He was claimed by the Green Bay Packers on April 15 before they waived him on Aug. 31.

Ficken will have a chance to stay with the Jets, who have had trouble replacing Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers after he signed with the Seahawks in the offseason.

The field goal wasn’t the former Penn Stater’s first make in MetLife Stadium. He made another 46-yarder on August 31, 2013 when he and the Nittany Lions took on Syracuse in the stadium. Ficken made 3-of-3 field goal attempts and both of his extra-point attempts in the game, accounting for 11 of the team’s 23 points in its 23-17 win over the Orange.

Jon Sauber earned his B.A. in digital and print journalism from Penn State and his M.A. in sports journalism from IUPUI. His previous stops include jobs at The Indianapolis Star, the NCAA, and Rivals.
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