Will Oliver is ready to deliver a walk-off field goal at Sports Authority Field if the Rocky Mountain Showdown requires one.
Entering Colorado's tilt against Colorado State on Saturday in Denver, the Buffs' true freshman place-kicker has already proven that he can handle the late-game pressure.
During the 36-33 loss to Cal at Folsom Field, Oliver:
Calmly waited for Justin Gorman to get a low snap settled before converting a 27-yard field goal to open the
"The hold was a little bit bobbled, and I kind of stutter-stepped. It was looking like everything was wrong," Oliver said. "I kind of just learned to trust the holder and knew eventually the snap was going to get down. It worked out."
Blasted a 52-yard field goal, the longest ever by a CU freshman, in the second quarter.
"(Special teams coach J.D.) Brookhart just came up to me and said, 'Let me know what your range is going both ways,'" Oliver said. "So I kicked both ways (in warm ups). I was hitting 57, 58 from one way, and 52 or so from the other. Obviously, they took that with a grain of salt and made their own judgements. But I was glad to get an opportunity."
Split the uprights from 32 yards out with 30 seconds left in regulation to tie the score 30-30.
"I went out there with the same mentality. It was kind of weird actually," Oliver said. "I wasn't expecting to, but I was able to go out there and treat it just like every other kick. When I hit it, I was all smiles. I was enjoying it."
Oliver also gave CU a 33-30 lead on a 22-yard field goal in overtime, but the defense allowed a touchdown on Cal's possession.
Now the 0-2 Buffs must turn the page and focus on delivering Jon Embree's elusive first victory against the Rams.
Recent history may be on Oliver's side in this rivalry game.
In 2004, Mason Crosby's 55-yard field goal in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner as the Buffs' defense made a goal-line in the final minute of CU's 27-24 win over CSU at Folsom Field.
In 2005, Crosby's 47-yard field goal with four seconds left completed a dramatic comeback as CU overcame an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to pull out a 31-28 win over the Rams in Boulder.
In 2007, Kevin Eberhart's 35-yard field goal in overtime gave the Buffs a 31-28 victory at Invesco Field. CU cornerback Terrence Wheatley intercepted CSU quarterback Caleb Hanie on the first possession to set up the winning kick.
"There was a reason why we picked Will. He is doing a good job and he is going to have to continue," Embree said after Oliver's clutch 4-for-4 effort against Cal. "All that he has to understand is that the expectations ... right now he has been gambling with house money and he is going to have to start gambling with his own money. He has to be ready on take that step."
Oliver's game face is World Series of Poker quality. He seems to trot out onto the field in a state of tranquility, no matter what the situation is.
"I think he treats them all the same," Brookhart said. "We talked about it. If he is kicking a deeper one, we don't need to overdo it. And he didn't try and kill (the 52-yard field goal against Cal) and he hit it well. I think his demeanor is probably what impresses you the most."
The 18-year-old from Los Angeles says he's ready to execute a Hollywood ending at Sports Authority Field of the script calls for one.
"The pressure has sort of been building with each kick. The first one at Hawaii was my first one ever, and it was in the fourth quarter, so there was a little pressure to get us back in the game," Oliver said. "Then to get a few against Cal, including one in overtime, that gave me a little taste of it.
"In the beginning it was like, 'Oh my god, I don't know what I'll do if I have to kick the game-winner.' Now it's like, 'Bring it on.' I'd love it."