Georgia’s star kicker Rodrigo Blankenship says he got his first bit of major attention not from his game-winning kick in the 2016 Kentucky game but when he missed a field goal a few games earlier at Ole’Miss. “I got flamed on the internet. It was a tough introduction to my college career, he said.
Although the Kentucky game was not his moment of initial notoriety, it did mean a lot to number 98. “It was a special moment to go out and do that for that team. It was an intense moment that gave me a lot more confidence the rest of that season. It gave me something to build off of the rest of the way and it meant a lot that they trusted me in that situation to execute my job,” said Blankenship. “I didn’t talk to many people, I was off to the side by myself going through my process when it becomes field goal range. Jacob Eason was my holder at that time and he just said, ‘Let’s go bud, you got this’ and that was the extent of our talking before I kicked it.”
No. 9 Kentucky will host No. 6 Georgia on Saturday and the winner will claim the SEC East title.
Despite the high stakes of this game, Blankenship says that the team is treating it as any other. “We are just looking at them (Kentucky) as the next team on the schedule. It is the most important game of the season because it is the next game on our schedule,” he said. “We don’t need to create any more pressure than is necessary. We need to go at them with the mindset that we are going to do everything we possibly can to be as prepared for this game as we can be. We are trying to get ready for another physical battle. It is going to be physical through and through. We are expecting it to be a great game but we are just going to prepare to try and win.”
Kentucky’s defense has not allowed more than 20 points on the board this season making them a challenge for any offense but Blankenship said this does not affect his role as a place-kicker. “I try not to pay much attention to that. I try to focus on things that are my own and the statistics that I contribute to the team. I’m looking at field goal percentage, touchback percentage, field zone percentage which is the how much of the time I hit the ball where the coaches are asking me to hit the ball and things like that,” he said.
In his three years at Georgia, Blankenship has made 47 out of 56 field goals and 125 out of 125 extra points.