VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Betting Tools

WVU team brings back dropkick

Ruan Venter learned how to dropkick playing rugby in his native South Africa and sometimes would do it for fun during football practices at NCAA Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia.


Until a couple weeks ago, he wouldn't have fathomed dropkicking in a game.

In scenes harkening to a bygone era, Venter successfully dropkicked three extra points to the delight of teammates, fans, game officials and even opposing West Virginia Wesleyan on Oct. 27. Venter, whose first name is pronounced Roo-On, hopes to get another opportunity in his senior day game against Virginia-Wise on Saturday.

A standout punter who has drawn the attention of NFL scouts, Venter is the first player known to have scored on a dropkick since Matt Newman of Division III Illinois College did it against Grinnell in September 2013.

''I had no idea about the history of it,'' Venter said. ''I did dropkicks my whole life, and by doing them again I thought about back home, being outside and doing the dropkicks with friends in my home country. Maybe I miss it a little bit. But it also made me excited I could bring that kind of kicking back into the game and, with that, making the people happy and making some history for them as well.''

The dropkick was a staple of football back in the days of leather helmets. The kicker takes the snap, holds the ball waist high and drops it straight down as he strides with his non-kicking leg. He strikes the ball as it touches the ground or just as it bounces up.

The popularity of the forward pass led to the evolution of the ball in the 1930s, from more rounded to sleeker and pointed on the ends. That made it easier to throw but more difficult to dropkick because bounces off the drop became unpredictable. Thus, the dropkick became a novelty.

Shepherd coach Ernie McCook knew about Venter's special talent and had the team practice extra points and field goals with Venter dropkicking in case an emergency came up.

Venter's time came after the team's regular kicker, who had struggled with back tightness for a week, missed two straight extra points. McCook wanted to preserve the freshman backup kicker's redshirt year, so Venter was the next option.

Venter is a capable place-kicker, but he is the team's regular holder, and McCook wasn't comfortable with anyone else doing the holding.

''At that point,'' McCook said, ''the dropkick was the best option for us.''

McCook had given the officials a heads-up a dropkick might be coming. Venter split the uprights to give Shepherd a 32-7 lead in what would be a 58-35 win.

''As the officials were jogging up the field to set the ball for the kickoff,'' McCook said, ''they said, `Hey, Coach, thanks for that one, man. That's off my bucket list. I always wanted to see one.'''

WVW coach Del Smith said that first dropkick came as a big surprise. He and his team saw four more, and blocked one. Venter pushed another one wide right.

''Kudos to them for having that in their back pocket,'' Smith said. ''In general, when I see guys get creative schematically, when you're in this business, of course you enjoy it. You just hope it's not at your expense.''

Venter said he planned to ask McCook to give him another chance if Shepherd (7-2) gets a comfortable lead against Virginia-Wise (3-6).

''I would always entertain it,'' McCook said. ''I love it when our kids get a chance to have a lot of fun. He's been a great player and a great person in our program. I won't tell you it's out of the question. It's something we would consider. We're going to just focus on winning the game first.''


More AP college football: and .

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

· Nelson: Tulane at Houston
· ASA: Big Ten Report - Week 12
· Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 12
· BetDSI: Saturday's Best Bets
· Week 12 Upset Alerts
· BetDSI: WVU at Oklahoma State
· BetDSI: Early Line Moves - Week 12
· Bookmaker: Power 5 Top Wagers - Week 12
· Games to Watch - Week 12
Why Buy Picks From
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB Hot Streaks
20-10 L4 Sat, 33-15 Run, +1,905 TY
6-0 Saturday, 12-4 L16 Guarantees
13-4 L17, 23-6 Win Streak
19-7 L26 G-Plays, 63% +1,622 TY
6-1 Last 7 Guaranteed Plays
19-11 L30 Picks, +1,029 TY
7-2 L5 Sat, 12-6 Picks, 62% Overall
11-5 G-Plays, 38-22 L11 Saturdays
7-2 L9 NCAA FB Guarantees
12-4 L3 Saturdays, 8-3 L11 Totals
7-3 L10 Guaranteed Plays
4-1 L5 G-Plays, 17-7 CFB Totals TY
12-5 L3 Saturdays, 59% +1,031 TY
8-1 L9 Totals, 4-2 Week 11
10-5 L4 Saturdays, 3-0 L3 G-Plays
4-1 Record Last Saturday
13-6 L19 Totals, 16-4 L7 Fridays
5-1 Last Sat., 9-3 L12 Selections
7-3 L10 College G-Plays
6-2 Record Last Saturday
NCAA FB College Football Expert Season Sports Picks
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 2005
Scott Rickenbach + 1517
Zack Cimini + 1224
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Brian Edwards + 570
NeiltheGreek + 429
The Gold Sheet + 388
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Zack Cimini 64 %
Scott Pritchard 63 %
Scott Rickenbach 63 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 947
Brian Edwards + 372
Greg Smith + 360
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 1071
Ben Burns + 930
Alex Smart + 888
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1303
Bruce Marshall + 831
Stephen Nover + 680
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership