Sugar Bowl hero: "Brunette girls" inspired me

Michigan's Brendan Gibbons (34) is congratulated by Drew Dileo (26) after Gibbons kicked the winning field goal in overtime against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. Michigan won 23-20.
AP Photo/Dave Martin

It's the moment every college placekicker dreams of. You kick the game-winning field goal to give your team a dramatic win in a BCS bowl game. It happened last night for Michigan's Brendan Gibbons, who drilled a 37-yard field goal down the middle in overtime, lifting the No. 13 Wolverines to a 23-20 victory over 17th-ranked Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl at the Superdome.

So what was going through Gibbons' mind before he made the clutch kick?

Brunette girls.

"Every time we were struggling in kicking, coach tells me to think about girls on a beach or brunette girls," Gibbons said. "So that's what we did. Made the kick."

Gibbons went 3 for 3 in the game and the overtime kick sealed his legacy as the game's unlikely hero. As notes, it was an unexpected turnaround for the long-haired kicker from West Palm Beach, Fla., who lost his starting job last year after missing four of five attempts.

Offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, who is Gibbons' roommate, called it a "classic zero to hero" moment.

Gibbons is the new hero in Ann Arbor. Thanks to the brunettes in his head.

<a href=";vid=5f2b38b7-8fea-4333-8ecb-8b5e3d4b1dec&amp;src=v5:embed::" target="_new" title="Gibbons on girls">Video: Gibbons on girls</a>

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for


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