“I mean, we’re putting points on the board, why are you guys upset? Especially, a two-possession game, we should be cheering right?”
— Keith Duncan after Saturday’s 19-10 win
Keith Duncan’s four field goals against Illinois provided the difference once again for Iowa. They also produced a new Big Ten single-season record with 27 made kicks.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said, “I didn’t know he could break the record today. I had no idea. But to me it’s more about his attitude, the work ethic he’s displayed, and he’s a great teammate. Every day you see him, he’s got a smile on his face. He’s a positive guy.”
Duncan says his preparation has given him the extra edge in a high-volume season.
“I’m just an average, ability-wise, kicker, but my routine really helps me be ready mentally and be successful on the field. So having that routine, again, keeps my legs fresh and my mind fresh as well.”
Duncan lost the kicking competition to Miguel Recinos in his sophomore season.
He said Kirk Ferentz’s words of encouragement during that tough time helped him eventually flourish in his record-breaking season.
“He just came up and said, ‘Hey, we still trust you. Get your mind right and you’ll be good,” Duncan said. “Okay, I’m still good.”
“When somebody beats you out, they win the job in competition, an older guy, a lot of times you just see guys just kind of — I call it a second-team cocoon — even where I think sometimes guys don’t compete or practice, prepare the way they need to. And he went through a little bit of that, right after it was over. But then he went back to work.”
Duncan’s big day at Kinnick puts him just four behind the national record for field goals in a season. When asked about it after the game, he said what he’s said all season long, that he’s focused more on wins than records in the final two games this season.