MISSOULA — Montana’s special teams unit has been called upon to make big plays all season for the Grizzlies.
With a few close contests under their belt, the Grizzlies have needed some big field goals late in games, and that has come thanks to Arizona State transfer Kevin Macias.
Macias arrived at Montana a couple weeks into fall camp back in August, but from the get-go, was handed field goal duties for the Grizzlies. He'd been in contact with Griz coaches in early 2021, but needed to wait for clearance on transcripts for his sixth year of college football, making the waiting game a long one.
"Just kept training everyday, posting videos, getting a lot of work with my coaches, getting into the weight room, things like that so that part of it never stopped," Macias said. "It was just more of a waiting game and trying to reach out to coaches and trying to get them back about what their situation was and it kind of took a while but it was just that moment, just waiting for that call and everything like that.
"I just had another opportunity, and especially with the COVID season, we were going to get that extra year of eligibility back and I really wanted to demonstrate what I could do at another level. Was praying some doors would open and that eventually led me to Montana and I didn't hesitate."
Macias began his career at Scottsdale Community College where he played primarily as a punter before he transferred and spent three years with the Sun Devils. There, he handled holding on field goals and kickoffs.
However, Macias hadn't kicked field goals since high school, but once he got to Montana that became his new role. Because Macias had already experienced transferring before from community college to ASU, the second go-round with it had some differences but overall the transition was smooth.
"It’s definitely a learning experience especially for a new position," Macias said. "Definitely kept training either way throughout my college career especially here and being able to play and stuff like that. It’s all exciting and new. New environment, new culture. I love the atmosphere here, it’s awesome. Nothing quite like it."
Macias had never been to Montana prior to joining the Grizzlies with fall camp ongoing. But joined by his wife Ashley and baby son, Kylian, and with support from family in Arizona, he said that made things easier.
For head coach Bobby Hauck, he said Macias is the first kicker he's had who has transferred into the program from somewhere else.
"He's done a good job," Griz coach Bobby Hauck said. "I think it's more about his teammates like him and feel good about him. He's a good kicker. He's assimilated well into the team but I think that's personality more than anything. He's hitting the ball through the posts."
Macias has made 10 of his 14 field goal attempts this season, with a long of 48 yards at Idaho. That bested his previous career long of 47 yards which he achieved in high school.
Recently, Macias made both of his field goal attempts against Southern Utah last weekend, including one in the fourth quarter with 11:38 left in the game that gave the Griz the lead and eventual win, 20-19. Macias also knocked home two field goals in the opener against Washington in a game where the Grizzlies won 13-7.
He's also made all 26 of his extra point attempts, and with all of the success he's had at Montana, it's made his long journey to get a final year of college football to pay off.
"Yeah it’s very special and just take advantage of your opportunities and do what you love to do and that’s why I’m here and I feel really good about what I’m doing. It always excites me to come out everyday just to get better, to be around these guys, work towards our goal. We’ve got big goals and we want to finish the rest of the season on a high note and definitely get that playoff berth as well."