Sean Nuernberger, meet Wally Pipp. Wally Pipp, meet Sean Nuernberger.
On his radio show on Thursday, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer announced that kicker Blake Haubeil would be the starter for the second week in a row. The sophomore was a last-minute substitution in last week’s game against Minnesota after redshirt senior Nuernberger strained his groin during warmups.
In his first collegiate action kicking field goals, Haubeil went 3-for-3, and added three extra points. His 47-yarder is just two yards shy of Nuernberger’s career best which was achieved in 2014, when the kicker was a freshman. After starting in 2014-15, Nuernberger redshirted when Tyler Durbin won the kicking duties in 2016. He reclaimed the starting job last season.
In his career, Nuernberger has hit 36 of his 50 FG attempts, and is a perfect 216-for-216 on extra points— leading to multiple school records. Nuernberger has 324 total points, just 32 behind Mike Nugent’s school record for kickers of 356. However, Nuernberger has not connected on a FG longer than 30 yards on the season, and has only hit one longer than 40 since 2014.
Haubeil is a sophomore from Buffalo, N.Y., and was ranked as the second best kicker by 247sports in the 2017 recruiting class. While Meyer did not specifically say that Haubeil would keep the job for the rest of the season even if/when Nuernberger is 100 percent (he also didn’t say that Nuernberger wasn’t completely healthy now), it feels like a changing of the guard for one of OSU’s longest-tenured players.
Haubeil will now go into an excited Ross-Ade Stadium for his first road game as Ohio State’s kicker for the primetime matchup on Saturday. The Purdue Boilermakers are amped up following three-straight dominant wins over Boston College, Nebraska and Illinois, and would love to take down the No. 2 Buckeyes. If Ohio State’s defense isn’t able to stop the Boilermakers’ explosive offense, the game just might come down to a last-second field goal.