MISSOULA, Mont. — When James Langford signed with Cal Poly coming out of Foothill High in Pleasanton in February 2010, Mustangs fans were excited about the possibility of a new dimension being added to their offense.
Langford, a five-star recruit who once made a 57-yard field goal in a prep all-star game and turned down a recruited walk-on spot at Stanford to head to San Luis Obispo on a scholarship, indeed looked like a top-tier college kicker Saturday.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore, who went 1 for 5 on field-goal attempts as a true freshman last year, made all three of his attempts during Cal Poly’s 37-23 loss at 13th-ranked Montana.
He was good from 38 and 36 yards before making a career-long 50-yarder in the third quarter that gave the Mustangs their last points of the game and a 23-21 lead.
“I was a reliable source of points. That’s my job, to make all my kicks, and I did that (Saturday), so it was a good day for me,” Langford said.He said he wasn’t too bothered by the crowd of 25,855, the third-largest ever to pack Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
“It’s a little different — I’m not going to lie,” Langford said, “but if anything, I think it just makes me better because it gives me more adrenaline. All those aches and pains that shoot out from practicing every day of the week start to go away when you hear the crowd noise when you go out there to kick a field goal.
“You want to keep it simple and just do what you do every day at practice,” Langford said. “If you do all those things, then there shouldn’t be a reason why it wouldn’t go through the uprights.”
After nailing the 50-yarder, Langford was patted on the helmet by an onslaught of teammates after returning to the sideline.
“He’s got a lot of talent, and he lived up to it today,” Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said. “Hopefully he can continue with that.
“When you kick a 50-yard field goal, the snap, the hold, the guys up front — that particular team, the PAT-field goal team, played well.”
While Langford, like Walsh, said that, obviously, drive-finishing touchdowns are paramount, he certainly doesn’t mind being called upon.
“That’s the goal,” Langford said. “I don’t want people to second-guess going for a field goal that’s deep. I want them to be confident in me, just like I’m confident in myself.”
Grizzlies’ leading tackler has high praise for Romanelli
After the game, Montana senior linebacker Caleb McSurdy, who had a game-best 17 tackles, was particularly complimentary of Mustangs senior fullback Jake Romanelli.
“He’s a big, physical dude,” McSurdy said of the 6-3, 240-pound Templeton High product. “In that (triple) option, they just try to play with your eyes. If you’re not keyed in on a certain thing, and he’s in a three-point stance running downhill at you and you’re flat-footed, that’s a mismatch.”
Romanelli rushed for 98 yards and a TD on 20 carries, coming just two yards shy of his second career 100-yard game.
“It’s kind of a battle all game,” McSurdy said. “If you let him get going a little bit, he’s a load.”
Millard strong again on defense
Cal Poly redshirt sophomore outside linebacker Johnny Millard continued his strong play, making a team-leading 10 tackles in the loss.
It was the second straight game that Millard, son of former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Minnesota Vikings star lineman Keith Millard, led the Mustangs in tackles.