USC’s blind long snapper gives us the first great highlight of the college football season


Jake Olson USC long snapperAP
Photo/Mark J. Terrill

It’s rare that an extra point is a can’t-miss play on a college
football weekend; it usually means something went horribly wrong
for the kicking team. But on Saturday as the USC Trojans played
Western Michigan at the Coliseum, it was long snapper Jake Olson
who had the highlight of the game.

Olson was born with retinoblastoma, a rare
form of eye cancer that would take his left eye when he
was just 10 months old. At age 12, Olson needed surgery in order
to remove his right eye that would take away his sight
completely. According to ESPN,
Olson spent the night before his surgery watching USC practice.
He remained close with the program throughout his life, and
eventually joined the team with the help of a scholarship aimed
to aid disabled athletes.

After the Trojans returned an interception for a touchdown late
in the fourth quarter to put a once close game out of reach,
Olson got his chance, taking the field for the extra point.
Western Michigan, aware of the situation, did not rush the kick.
Olson’s snap was clean, and the ball sailed through the uprights
as cheers roared in from the home crowd and the sidelines.

You can watch the attempt below, courtesy of Pac 12 Network.

After the game, he talked about the joy of the
moment. “It was an awesome feeling,” Olson said.
“Something that I’ll remember forever, getting to snap at USC as
a football player.”

In the spring of 2016, Olson told ESPN that he wanted to
win the starting job with the Trojans, saying “I just have to
continue to take steps forward until everyone is on board and
some of those doubts that I know some coaches have are
gone.”

His snap on Saturday should be another piece of evidence
that he’s up for the job, and coach Clay Helton said that there
would likely be more opportunities for Olson to play in the
future.

The Trojans went on to win the game 49-31.

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