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UFL kicker praises God after making 64-yard game-winning field goal on first attempt since high school

Jake Bates played three seasons of college football as a kicker, but he was used exclusively on kickoffs.

This meant that, even as a kicker, he never attempted an extra point or made a field goal in college.

So, naturally, he kicked a 64-yard field goal with just two seconds left to give the UFL’s Michigan Panthers an 18-16 victory over the St. Louis Battlehawks on Saturday.

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Jake Bates of the Michigan Panthers, right, kicks a 64-yard field goal to defeat the St. Louis Battlehawks 18-16 at Ford Field on March 30, 2024, in Detroit. (Luke Hales/UFL/Getty Images)

Bates was a football player first, earning a spot on the all-district first team while attending Tomball High School in Texas, and he parlayed that into two seasons of football at Central Arkansas.

But he turned his attention to football in 2020 after transferring to Texas State. After two years there, he transferred again to the University of Arkansas, where in 2022 he earned first-team All-SEC honors as a “kickoff specialist” , according to the Razorbacks website.

In 2023, Bates signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent, but did not make the team out of training camp after converting two extra points in the preseason. He signed with the UFL shortly before the end of the year.

And on his first field goal attempt since high school, he had ice in his veins.

Jake Bates partying

Jake Bates of the Michigan Panthers celebrates after kicking a 64-yard field goal to defeat the St. Louis Battlehawks 18-16 at Ford Field on March 30, 2024, in Detroit. (Luke Hales/UFL/Getty Images)

The Panthers led 16-15 when Bates came up for a 64-yard shot.

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St. Louis had scored a touchdown and taken the lead with a one-point conversion with 49 seconds left, and Michigan had no timeouts.

But that was all the time for Bates and the Panthers.

“I prepared for this moment. I was ready,” Bates told FOX after the match. “When you have a lot of faith in your guys, man, nothing is (impossible with) God. He’s resurrected. Easter weekend, man. It’s a really special feeling.”

Jake Bates with fans

Jake Bates of the Michigan Panthers celebrates with fans after kicking a 64-yard field goal to defeat the St. Louis Battlehawks 18-16 at Ford Field on March 30, 2024, in Detroit. (Luke Hales/UFL/Getty Images)

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The Battlehawks attempted to ice Bates by calling their final timeout, giving the kicker a warm-up attempt. Bates drilled that and the one that mattered moments later.

The game was played at Ford Field, home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.



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