With big-game experience in his past, Griffin Crosa has emerged as primary placekicker for Bison
North Dakota State junior Griffin Crosa is the team's primary placekicker after competing with Will Cardinal throughout fall camp and into the start of the regular season.
FARGO — North Dakota State kicker Griffin Crosa has performed in high-leverage situations during his Bison career, especially during his freshman season in 2019.
Crosa hit field goals from 38, 33 and 22 yards in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals against Illinois State at the Fargodome.
Those kicks lifted NDSU to a 9-3 victory against the Redbirds en route to an undefeated national championship season.
“When you’ve been there before it definitely helps when you’re in positions like that again,” Crosa said. “When you are in those moments again, it’s nice to be able to look back and say I’ve been here before.”
Crosa has emerged as the No. 1 placekicker this season, competing against junior Will Cardinal throughout fall camp and the first few games.
“At this moment, (Crosa) has,” Bison head coach Matt Entz said earlier this week.
The Bison host Youngstown State at 1 p.m. Saturday in Missouri Valley Football Conference play at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
The 6-foot-1, 167-pound Crosa earned MVFC special teams player of the week honors after kicking two field goals and four extra points in NDSU’s 34-17 road victory at the University of South Dakota last weekend.
“I feel like in game situations, that’s when I’m at my best,” Crosa said.
Entz said Cardinal will continue to handle kickoff duties and potentially longer field-goal attempts.
Crosa redshirted last season with Jake Reinholz — a Fargo Shanley graduate — handling the majority of the place kicking duties the past two seasons. In 2019, Reinholz was hurt in the season opener and Crosa took over from there.
“It’s always been just about winning, being around the dudes on the team,” said Crosa, from Dublin, Ohio. “Having to take a step after that first year was definitely different. … I embraced it. I took more time to be able to focus on perfecting my craft and being able to be ready when it was my time again.
“It definitely was a little bit of a roller coaster of a few years.”
Crosa said he learned the past couple seasons watching Reinholz and added Cardinal is one of his best friends on the team and their competition this fall pushed him to get better.
“Jake’s a great dude,” Crosa said. “He’s probably one of the most calm and collected dudes I’ve ever met.”
During the 2019 season, Crosa made 60 of 61 point-after attempts and made 11 of 15 field goal attempts, including a 46-yarder at Delaware. Crosa said he can still draw from those experiences.
“As a kicker, it’s all about riding the wave of confidence,” Crosa said. “Once you get in that groove, you feed off of it. … Where was I at mentally in those moments?”
Crosa said he feels comfortable kicking field goals from 50 yards and in and he’s been working on improving getting lift on his field goals to make those attempts more difficult to block.
“He was driving the ball versus getting any lift on it,” Entz said. “He’s worked hard to try to get some more air underneath it, get that thing up quicker.”
Crosa has high standards for his performance.
“The expectation is to be automatic. Not only that, but for it to look pretty when it’s going through the pipes,” Crosa said. “The standard I have for myself is very high. … Being able to prove that to myself and prove that to my coaches is a big part.”