Thursday, June 21, 2018
Colleges

Kicker Kloss, punter Ciabatti come through for USF Bulls

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — At times Saturday, the wind was rough, the footing rougher. On a sunny central Connecticut afternoon, kicking percentages seemed poised to tumble like multicolored leaves.

But the only thing Marvin Kloss didn't make Saturday were excuses.

Booting into a stern wind, Kloss nailed a 44-yard go-ahead field goal with 4:03 to play, helping USF beat UConn 13-10.

The German-born junior from Naples, who logged time at safety as well as special teams in high school, enters the bye week with nine consecutive field goals made, including a 47-yarder during the second quarter.

"He's doing a hell of a job," USF quarterback Bobby Eveld said. "Can't ask for a better field goal kicker if he makes all of them."

When Kloss wasn't being clutch, former Hillsborough High star Mattias Ciabatti was.

In what evolved into a collaborative display of crunch time legwork, Ciabatti averaged a career-best 44.3 yards on nine punts. Three times during the third quarter, the sophomore punted from his own end zone. All three traveled more than 50 yards.

"He was awesome," Bulls coach Willie Taggart said. "He did a great job of field position, and that's something we always talk about — changing the field position. When we needed it the most, he stepped up big time for us."

Call it the Marvin-and-Mattias show played out on a slick stage.

Kloss, in fact, changed the cleats on his plant foot early after failing to gain traction on Rentschler Field's natural grass.

And when his decisive field goal came around in the waning stages, the wind had increased in briskness.

"It was pretty rough. I'd say it was definitely a 10- to 15-yard difference each way, especially on kickoffs," Kloss said.

But not strong enough to alter the trajectory of what is evolving into a career season.

"It just felt good to contribute again," said Kloss, who already has set a school season record with four field goals of at least 47 yards. "Every week I plan on helping this team out and getting a W."

 
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