The Golden Toe: Kicker Cole Netten stands out as key weapon for Iowa State football


Redshirt sophomore Cole Netten attempts a point after during the Homecoming game against Toledo on Oct. 11 at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones defeated the Rockets 37-30.

Beau Berkley

Adam Sandler once wrote a song called “The Lonesome Kicker” in which he comically chronicles the trials of one of football’s most notoriously scrutinized positions.

Sandler outlines the sad, dismal events of everyday life for a kicker, such as less than adequate equipment, teammates hiding cleats, the standard under appreciation from fans and the empty feeling when instead of kicking an extra point, the offense stays on the field to go for two.

While Sandler’s sentiments might ring true for some kickers, it certainly does not for ISU kicker Cole Netten, who laughs at the thought of being kicked to the curb like the lonesome kicker. And if Netten continues to put the ball through the uprights like he has been so far this season, he might not ever have to worry about his cleats suddenly disappearing.

Through seven games, Netten is 8-for-8 on field goals and is one of just five kickers in Football Bowl Subdivision to have a 100 percent accuracy mark at this point in the season. Dating back to last season, Netten has connected on 11 straight field goals, tying the record for most consecutive field goals set by Jeff Shudak in the 1988-89 season.

If Netten’s near automatic-like accuracy makes it seem like the redshirt sophomore has been doing this for a while, it’s because he has. In fact, Netten has been kicking the ball through the uprights since before he was in junior high.

“We would kick extra points in fifth-grade junior football,” Netten said. “I was really one of the only kids who could really put it through the uprights.”

Netten honed his craft in the school of Peter Rameh, a kicking guru of sorts. Rameh has been coaching kickers for more than 20 years, and several of his pupils have gone on to kick at the FBS level, including Netten. Rameh runs a kids’ kicking and punting camp in Ankeny where Netten got his first taste of kicking back in the fifth grade.

Rameh remembers Netten jumping out of his mom’s car the first day of camp and after two days, Rameh realized Netten might have a future in kicking.

“His mom dropped him off and said he’d only be there two days and the other two [days] he had soccer or something. I said no problem and after his last day, when she came to pick him up, I said I’d like to see him again,” Rameh said.

“I just liked the way he was listening and working on the things that I gave him to work on or told him or coached him and I just saw something in him that I liked and wanted to continue working with him and I did,” Rameh said.

Rameh coached Netten throughout high school and continues to work with him in the summers. If anyone is keeping a close eye on Netten’s performance, it’s Rameh. But he says there’s more to Netten’s success than just the swing of his leg.

In the world of kicking, mental strength can often rival the importance of physical strength. Kickers can’t afford to dwell on a miss or live in the moment of a big kick, but rather must move forward and focus on one kick at a time.

Netten has been in high-pressure situations before, none moreso than on Sept. 13 against Iowa in the fleeting moments of the fourth quarter. Tied 17-17, Netten trotted out and did exactly what he’s been doing since he was in fifth grade, nailing the 42-yard game winner.

“Growing up, it’s something you realize when you just keep kicking, it’s something you have to develop to be a good kicker,” Netten said of his ability to perform under pressure.

Even more than his mental toughness, Rameh says there is another important component to Netten’s game. Actually, there is more than one.

“Cole is lucky to have a great holder, a great snapper and a great line protecting him,” Rameh said. “The timing is right, the chemistry is right and that plays a big role. You could be the greatest kicker in the world, but if you don’t have a great holder, a great snapper and great protection then forget it.”

Of all the qualities that have led to Netten’s success thus far, more than anything, the not-so-lonesome kicker is a humble one. 

“I’m just doing what I can and trying to make some field goals.”