For Furney, long distance chance not expected

FURNEY'S GOT GAME

PULLMAN – Getting the chance to kick a 60-yard field goal is a thrill Andrew Furney embraces -- but one he definitely wasn't anticipating.

"I thought actually they were going to send (Mike) Bowlin out," the junior kicker said after Saturday's 24-20 win over Eastern Washington. "Coach Russell asked ‘Hey, you got this?' and I said ‘Yeah, I got it.'

Furney's kick, which has been unofficially scored as a 60-yarder, is the second-longest kick in school history, behind Jason Hanson's 62-yard effort in 1991 against UNLV.

"He's been kicking in the NFL for, what, 20 years?" Furney said. "Being in the same sentence as that guy and being on the record books with those guys with (Rian) Lindell and Hanson and Drew Dunning and stuff … It's awesome."

Furney was already comfortable with the distance before the game started; he connected on a 61-yard attempt in the same direction during warm-ups. When Special Teams coach Eric Russell asked him his range before the game, Furney said he replied, ‘Well, 60 yards, I guess.'

Furney added that upon hearing that, Russell jokingly tabbed his range at 53 yards.

"Everyone in that squad did a great job," Furney said. "They're all in the record books, as far as I'm concerned … Just want to thank the coaches for giving me the chance."

Chief among them might have been David Gilbertson. The Cougs' holder handled a low snap deftly, and then put down a perfect spot.

HEAD COACH Mike Leach praised Furney's feat, noting how rare an occurrence it is.

"I thought it was good," he said in response to a reporter. "What were your impressions? You've evidently seen a lot more 60-yard field goals than I have, because I haven't seen very many and I'm not sure this isn't the first one I've seen live."

Leach added that Furney making the same kick prior to the game gave him confidence in the kicker's ability to at least give it a shot.

"He'd hit it in pregame, but even then it's tough," Leach said. "It's got to go a long ways and you've got to get it up high, and he did."

FURNEY, WHO WAS named to the preseason Lou Groza Award watch list, is no stranger to long field goals. As a sophomore in 2011, he connected on a 51-yard attempt against Idaho State.

Furney said he was exuberant after nailing the 60-yarder – and not sure what to do.

"When I kicked it, it felt right and I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, this might actually have a chance'," Furney said. "When I heard the crowd go wild, I just started running and yelling, you know – didn't really know what to do."

It wasn't a perfect game, though. Furney missed a 40-yard attempt in the third quarter that would have put the Cougars up by 13. After the game, he said he was disappointed to have missed because it would have given the team a two-touchdown lead.

As for taking on Hanson's record, Furney just said that he never stops working.

"I've got another year left next year, so there's some time," he said. "Let's just take it one kick at a time."

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