BOCA RATON, Fla. - As the seconds ticked closer to Marshall kicker Justin Haig's chance at a game-winning field goal - a wait that included two time outs in an attempt to ice him - the redshirt junior kept loose. He went through his steps and maintained his concentration.
What didn't enter his mind was the last time he had this opportunity, a chance that didn't turn out so well for the Thundering Herd.
Brushing away the bad vibes on a football field just up the road from his high school alma mater, Haig booted a 41-yard field goal with time running out to give Marshall a 24-23 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday night and give the Herd a 2-0 Conference USA start for the first time since 2008.
In the afterglow of that win, where the Herd (4-2, 2-0 C-USA) had to rally from nine points down with 6:47 left in the game, Haig praised everybody else on the field who had a hand in that successful kick.
"The O-line did a great job, Matt (Cincotta) had a great snap and Blake (Frohnapfel) had a great hold," Haig said. "People tend to overlook those things, and without those things, that kick's not possible. It takes 11 people to do a good job."
That field goal, Haig's longest of the year and his third-straight successful try, helped eliminate any of the tough memories from his last chance at a game-winner, in the first overtime versus Virginia Tech. It was a very similar scenario. The Herd got to a spot where they felt Haig could make the kick and ran it a couple of times to get the ball into the middle of the field.
Against the Hokies, that kick was blocked, Haig's second miss that day. Virginia Tech ultimately won that game in triple-overtime to hand Marshall its second straight loss. That disappointment wasn't easy to get over, Haig said.
"It was rough," he said. "It really was rough. We had tons of plays in that game that really could have changed the outcome of it. That was the most frustrating part. It wasn't one play. It wasn't the fourth quarter. We had tons of plays through the whole game that could have changed things and won the game. Ever since then, we've done great as a unit."
It had been weeks since that game, so the sting had started to wear off. Plus Haig had made two field goals in Marshall's convincing 34-10 win over the University of Texas at San Antonio. But Saturday night was Haig's first shot at a crunch-time kick.
Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said his faith in his kicker made it easy to set up a couple of runs to give Haig the best field positioning.