June 25, 2010

DePasquale makes the most of opportunity

All Derek DePasquale wanted was a chance.

The walk-on transfer kicker from the Colorado School of Mines enrolled at Mississippi State in the spring of 2007 but could not even get then head coach Sylvester Croom to give him an opportunity to tryout.

But DePasquale was not deterred and continued practicing on his own for an entire year while continuing his engineering degree before Dan Mullen arrived and everything changed.

"(Playing football) was at the forefront of my mind," DePasquale said. "I knew it was a great engineering school. I trained for a year by myself kind of secretly. I came here to play and no one believed me because I was just some little kid. (Sylvester) Croom wouldn't even talk to me but when (Dan) Mullen got here that pretty much opened the door for everything."

DePasquale proved he was clutch for MSU right from the beginning booting the game-winning 24-yard field goal as time expired in the Maroon-White Spring Game in 2009.

DePasquale then came on to appear in nine games in the fall and emerged as the Bulldogs go-to guy when starter Sean Brauchle went down with injury. DePasquale converted 10 of his 12 field goal attempts on the year including a season-long 48-yarder in the Egg Bowl.

The 5-foot-8, 180-pounder took over the starting role in the Georgia Tech game and never relinquished it.

"The thought that I had was that there is nobody behind me and nobody backing me up," DePasquale said. "There's no pressure. If you screw up then you just screw up."

But DePasquale didn't screw up, in fact he flourished missing only one attempt in the Bulldogs final six games and kept the starting job even after Brauchle recovered.

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