Rutgers’ Nick Borgese embraces surprising opportunity

By Matt Sugam

PISCATAWAY – Not even Nick Borgese thought he’d be Rutgers’ starting place kicker in their bowl game. If someone had informed him of his future endeavors, he would have thought it was some kind of joke.

“If you told me I’d be the starting kicker for the bowl game I would have laughed in your face,” Borgese said.

That’s because until a hip injury to Kyle Federico, it would have never happened. The true freshman had won the job back in spring football.

In turn, by the start of the season, Borgese wasn’t even a place kicker. He was punting.

But when Federico went down during the UConn game, Borgese was part of an open competition for the job. He won it, and has been Rutgers’ kicker since the Syracuse game.

“Going from not traveling at all, being a punter, to flipping everything – starting, being a kicker – it was a huge adjustment, but now that everything’s settled down, it’s a routine for me now,” Borgese said. “It’s not trying to figure everything out. I got myself in a routine. I know what I’m doing.”

Which has been kicking the ball through the goal posts. Borgese is 16 of 17 on extra points this season and four of five on field goals, including a career-long 42-yarder on the road against Cincinnati. And that kick – which helped give Rutgers a 10-3 win – is the one that instilled the confidence a kicker needs four games after his first start.

“That was by far my best ball that I’ve hit in a game. A good clean swing. Nice and easy,” Borgese said. “And that was when I knew I could do this.”

And so too does everyone watching. But things haven’t changed for the Hamburg, NY native despite going from obscurity as a walk-on specialist to the starting kicker.

“I try not to change anything. I’m still the same guy. I’m just a regular kid who happens to be able to kick a football,” Borgese said. “I don’t really change my aspect on life or anything like that. It’s great, don’t get me wrong. It’s great that everything has turned out the way it has, but I’m still the same guy.”

But one that showed he can be Rutgers starting place kicker. Whether or not he keeps that moniker after this season remains to be seen. However, Borgese will do whatever he can to at least be able to compete for the job.

“I’m going to do everything in my power for it to be an open competition,” Borgese said. “But ultimately the decision isn’t mine. So I’m going to do what I can to get better as a kicker and I know Kyle is a great kicker. That’s why they brought him in. It’s going to come down to [head] coach [Kyle] Flood and what he wants to do.”

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