Happy 50th Artie Cosby; you deserved better
Happy 50th birthday, Artie Cosby. That’s right, Cosby, who kicked the most famous field goal in Mississippi sports history, turns 50 today.
My gift wasn’t a good one. I called to ask him about the ill-fated kick.
“That’s OK,” he said, chuckling at my apology. “After 30 years, I am used to it.”
Thirty years ago last week, Cosby lined up to kick a chip shot field goal that would have given Mississippi State a 26-24 victory over Ole Miss.
Cosby, a truly splendid placekicker, kicked the ball squarely. It was headed dead center through the goal posts before a fierce, gale-like gust of wind out of the south blew it straight up into the air and then backward. Ole Miss won 24-23 to become bowl eligible in Billy Brewer’s first season as head coach.
I have covered football for 48 years. That’s still the damnedest thing I ever saw. I still go watch it on our video kiosks here in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. You watch it 10,000 times, you still don’t believe it. But it happened.
I remember talking to Mississippi State coach Emory Bellard afterward.
Said Bellard, “Podnuh, God just decided Mississippi State wasn’t going to win this game.”
It remains the only field goal I ever saw celebrated by both teams and both sets of fans. When Cosby hit it, State players began cheering. After all, it seemed perfect. When the State players began jumping up and down, the State crowd roared and the cowbells clanged. And then …
The wind got it. Ole Miss players began jumping up and down, celebrating as State players fell to the turf in agony. Ole Miss fans went berserk.
Truly, you had to see it — and hear it — to believe it.
“I’ve got a picture somewhere of my holder standing up with hands raised up and signaling that it was good,” said Cosby, who still lives in Starkville. “I thought it was going to be good. I hit it solid and I hit it straight.
“If you remember, there were some wooden bleachers at that end of the field back then,” Cosby continued. “Once that ball got above those bleachers, the wind just killed it. Unreal. Wrong place, wrong time.”
Cosby still holds the MSU school record for field goals. He had kicked 12 of his last 13 successfully before that one the wind blocked. He had kicked three of three in that Egg Bowl, one from 51 yards.
Cosby has one lasting regret from that game other than Mother Nature.
“At the end of the first half we had the ball almost midfield going the other way,” Cosby said. “I had 70-yard range going that way. I had already kicked a kickoff into the stands. “I could have made that kick. I should have told Coach Bellard, but I was a redshirt freshman and just didn’t have the gumption to go up and tell him. I wish I had.
“I would much rather be remembered for that kick than the other one.”
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