Each week this fall, we’re looking at a specific number that’s tied to Texas football.
This week’s notable number is 57 — the jersey number that has been assigned to linebacker Cort Jaquess, a sophomore who was placed on scholarship this summer. Saturday’s game against Oklahoma State will mark the 57th of Tom Herman’s head coaching career. Texas had 57 punt returns in 1941, which is still a school record.
Fifty-seven also represents the yardage on sophomore Cameron Dicker’s field goal in last week’s 48-13 win over Rice.
Dicker’s kick gave Texas a 31-0 lead with 1:01 left in the first half. It also placed him among the biggest kicking names in UT’s history. Only 10 kicks in school history have now covered 57 yards, with eight of them coming from Russell Erxleben. Justin Tucker, now with the Baltimore Ravens, had a career-long kick of 52 yards as a Longhorn. Phil Dawson, who recently retired after a 20-year NFL career, booted a 54-yarder against Rutgers in 1997.
“It’s pretty cool,” Dicker said. “It’s something you never really think about and something that I think every kicker dreams of.”
Dicker the Kicker a cool customer after drilling a 57-yard FG vs. Rice. pic.twitter.com/2fIV1uqrD8
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) September 15, 2019
On paper, Dicker’s kick is tied for the seventh-longest in school history. The school record is Erxleben’s 67-yard field goal against Rice at Memorial Stadium in 1977; he also hit 64- and 60-yard field goals that same season.
Erxleben, though, starred for the Longhorns from 1975-78. Jeff Ward, whose 57-yarder is tied with Dicker’s, kicked his in 1985. The NCAA allowed field goals to be kicked from tees until 1989.
Dicker hasn’t used a tee since his senior year at Lake Travis, but he noted the tee “definitely helps. I don’t know how much, though.”
It’s also worth noting that college football uprights are currently 18 feet, 6 inches between each other. Before 1991, kickers had bigger targets — that width was 23 feet, 4 inches.
Dicker’s kick was recorded at NRG Stadium, which had closed its roof. So he didn’t have to deal with any adverse conditions on Saturday night, and he likes kicking indoors. “They turn the A/C on behind you when you’re kicking,” he joked this week.
The stakes were also low in the Rice rout. Dicker himself said last year’s 40-yard game-winner against Oklahoma was a tenser moment. Erkleben hit 64- and 58-yard attempts in No. 5 Texas’ 13-6 win over No. 2 Oklahoma in 1977. A 55-yarder by Happy Feller helped Texas beat UCLA during its 1970 national championship season. Dawson hit a 50-yarder at the buzzer in 1995 to beat No. 14 Virginia.
So where does Dicker’s kick rank among Texas’ all-time field goals? That is subject to debate. Dicker, however, isn’t sweating the historical comparisons.
“It’s a cool accomplishment to have and just something I can hold and be proud of,” he said.
For his career, Dicker has made 22 of his 30 field goal tries. Last season, he hit a 52-yarder at Texas Tech. Two weeks ago, Texas considered sending him out for a 58-yard try but punted after LSU called a timeout.
“He made them all spring, all camp,” receiver Devin Duvernay said. “It’s no surprise to us, but it’s exciting to see him get a 57-yarder.”