======================================================= Cornell University head coach TOM HARP scratches his head as sophomore phenom PETE GOGOLAK (# 86) demonstrates his revoluationary “soccer-style” placekicking motion for the benefit of the cameraman. ======================================================= November 13th, 1956 — Nine days after the Soviet Union sent a large military force into Hungary in order to suppress a major national uprising that had spawned from a student demonstration, a medical doctor living in the capital city of Budapest makes a fateful decision that will forever change the way the game of gridiron football is played in the United States of America. As night time approaches the picturesque city split in two by the Danube River, 14-year-old PETE GOGOLAK, his younger brother Charlie and his two parents all depart on a 20-mile journey to the Austrian border by foot. After successfully avoiding both Soviet troops and Hungarian border guards as well as negotiating all other obstacles such as barbed wired fences, the Gogolak family made it into Austria and ultimately settled in upstate New York after the father, John, landed a position at St. The Ogdenburg Free Academy has no soccer team to play on so the eldest of the two Gogolak brothers decides to try his luck at American football (in part, because he has noticed that American girls seem to fancy football players) and the athletic lad, who had been a rather promising soccer playing back in Hungary, gets the hang of the new game quickly and makes the local high school varsity as a two-way end. September 30th, 1961 — Appearing in his very first varsity game at the collegiate level, Cornell University’s “soccer-style” kicker PETE GOGOLAK gives an immediate demonstration of his power by slamming the opening kickoff against the crossbar at the back of the Colgate University end zone.
Of course, as this blog has been reviewing, college football teams, as a whole, just did not kick a great many field goals to begin with during the time period that Gogolak was appearing for Cornell University.
The novel soccer-style kicking specialist, in fact, did not kick any field goals at all for the Big Red as a junior in 1962 but was perfect on all twenty extra point attempts and, significantly, it was the reliable Gogolak’s points after touchdowns which provided the critical margin of victory for head coach Tom Harp’s troops in no fewer than three of Cornell’s games —it should certainly be noted here that the Big Red won just four contests that term. vs San Diego State, 1984 MOST EXTRA POINTS, SEASON ======================== 12 …..
(Gogolak was 0/5 on field goal attempts as a junior for Cornell in 1962 but all five efforts were at an an official distance of 46 yards or longer) November 9th, 1963 — Cornell University senior placekicker Pete Gogolak successfully converts all four of his extra point attempts in the Big Red’s 28-25 triumph over Ivy League rival Brown University and, in doing so, not only provides the margin of victory in the game against the Bears but also breaks the existing NCAA collegiate record for most consecutive extra point attempts without a miss.
Gogolak, whose only missed extra point throughout his entire career at Cornell had, ironically enough, occurred against Brown during his sophomore season, surges past the previous standard of 38 consecutive extra points set by Pete Smolaovich of New Mexico State two years earlier.
Three more extra points in Cornell’s final two games of the 1963 campaign means that Gogolak will conclude his collegiate career with his own NCAA record for consecutive extra points made standing at forty-four.