During a timeout before North Carolina State tried a game-tying 39-yard field goal with four seconds remaining last Saturday, Baxter, a 6'1", 193-pound sophomore, told coaches and teammates that he was going to block the kick. He'd never blocked one, even in practice, but he held true to his word by rushing in from the far left and getting a right hand on Kent Passingham's attempt, preserving a 33-30 victory. Here is Baxter's account of the play.
When we were on the sideline, I told linebacker Kenyada Parker, whom I line up outside of on the kick-block team, that all he had to do was make a strong rush toward the middle and get their outside blocker to commit, and I would get around and block the kick. I told everyone not to worry because I had something left in my bag of tricks, and they kind of looked at me funny. In practice last week I'd had a chance to block a few kicks, but I'd pulled back at the last second. To be honest, I was scared of blocking one because I thought it would hurt, but I knew I had to lay it all on the line now.
As soon as the ball was snapped I ran as fast as I could. Kenyada made his guy block him pretty hard, so I went around the left side untouched. I closed my eyes and dived toward the kicker. The ball caught my right palm, and I hit the ground. I kind of lay there for a second, wondering if it was a dream. Then I was mobbed by my teammates.
Knowing we beat a nationally ranked team is an unbelievable feeling, but to have played a large role in that victory, in front of my friends and family, made it sweeter. I guess I'm not scared of blocking kicks anymore.