What Is The Longest Field Goal Kicked In College Football?

John Rizzo

What Is The Longest Field Goal Kicked In College Football

In the world of college football, where each game is marked by its high-stakes drama and nail-biting moments, few accomplishments resonate as profoundly as the art of the long-distance field goal.

It’s a spectacle that captures the essence of skill, precision, and sheer audacity.  Our journey begins by delving into the annals of this beloved sport, to unveil a remarkable feat that has left an indelible mark on the gridiron. 

This blog post is dedicated to answering a question that echoes in the hearts of football enthusiasts everywhere: What is the longest field goal kicked in college football?

As we embark on this exploration, we will unravel the stories behind the kickers who defied the odds and the circumstances that led to their incredible achievements. 

From the legendary Ove Johansson’s historic 69-yard boot to the modern-day heroes who have inched closer to that record, we will celebrate the extraordinary moments that have made college football an enduring spectacle.

What Is The Field Goal In Football?

In American football, a field goal is a method of scoring points by kicking the football through the opposing team’s goalposts. Here are the key points about field goals:


A successful field goal attempt is worth three points on the scoreboard. This is the case with the field goal, scoring is important and it can change the perspective at any time.


A field goal attempt typically occurs on a fourth down when the offensive team is in a position where they believe they can successfully kick the ball through the goalposts. 

It can also be attempted after a turnover or interception.

Holder and Snapper

A field goal attempt involves a holder (usually the punter or backup quarterback) who holds the ball in place and a long snapper who snaps the ball to the holder.


The player responsible for kicking the football through the goalposts is known as the placekicker or field goal kicker. They are highly specialized in making accurate kicks over various distances.


The distance of a field goal attempt varies depending on the position of the line of scrimmage when the play starts. The farther the kicker is from the goalposts, the more challenging the kick becomes.


American football goalposts are located at the back of each end zone. They consist of a horizontal crossbar and two upright posts. The goal is to kick the ball between the uprights and over the crossbar.

Successful Attempt

A field goal attempt is successful if the ball passes through the uprights and over the crossbar. 

If it goes wide or hits the uprights and bounces back, it is considered a missed field goal, and the opposing team gains possession of the ball at the spot of the kick.

Field goals are a crucial element of American football, providing a means for teams to score points when they are within range but unable to advance the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. 

Field goals can often be the difference in close games, and teams rely on their kickers for accuracy and consistency in these situations.

The Evolution of Field Goals in College Football 

The Evolution of Field Goals in College Football

The evolution of field goals in college football mirrors the changes and developments seen in the sport as a whole. Here’s an overview of how field goals have evolved in college football over the years:

Early Days

College football in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was significantly different from today’s game. 

Field goals were a primary means of scoring, and they were worth more points than touchdowns at times. In 1883, for example, a field goal was worth five points, while a touchdown was worth four.

Scoring Changes

The value of field goals fluctuated in the early years of college football. Rule changes in the late 1800s and early 1900s gradually reduced the value of field goals relative to touchdowns. 

In 1909, the value of a field goal was standardized at three points, the same as it is today.

Hash Marks

The introduction of hash marks on the field in the 1930s had a significant impact on field goal kicking. Before hash marks, field goals could be attempted from anywhere on the field. 

Hash marks limited the angle from which field goals could be attempted, making them more challenging.

Kicking Specialists

As the sport evolved, kicking specialists known as placekickers became more prevalent. These players dedicated themselves to honing their kicking skills and were tasked with handling field goal attempts and extra-point kicks. 

This specialization led to greater accuracy in field goal kicking.

Yardage Records

Over the years, kickers in college football began to set distance records for successful field goals. 

The ability to make long-distance field goals became a point of pride for many kickers and a source of excitement for fans.

Rule Changes

Rule changes have also affected field goal attempts. For instance, rules have been implemented to prevent players from leaping over the offensive line to block a field goal attempt, increasing player safety.

Modern Era

In modern college football, field goals remain a crucial element of the game. Teams rely on their kickers to secure points in crucial situations, and kickers often play a decisive role in close games.


Innovations in equipment, training techniques, and coaching have improved the accuracy and range of college kickers. 

Some kickers can now make field goals from distances well beyond 50 yards, making them a valuable asset for their teams.


The use of analytics in football has also influenced field goal decision-making. 

Coaches and teams use data to determine whether to attempt a field goal or go for it on fourth down, taking into account factors such as distance, field position, and the game situation.

Field goals in college football have evolved from being the primary means of scoring to a valuable but standardized scoring method. 

The specialization of placekickers, rule changes, and advancements in kicking techniques have all played a role in shaping the role of field goals in the modern college football game.

What Is The Longest Field Goal Kicked In College Football

What Is The Longest Field Goal Kicked In College Football

Ove Johansson’s 69-yard field goal, kicked on October 16, 1976, while playing for Abilene Christian University, holds the record for the longest field goal in college football history. 

This remarkable feat is etched in the annals of NCAA football history and stands as a testament to the extraordinary skill and precision of this Swedish-born kicker.

The Record-Setting Kick

Ove Johansson’s historic kick occurred during a game against East Texas State University. It was a moment that would forever change his life and secure his place in college football lore. 

Johansson’s kick was a true spectacle, with the ball traveling an astonishing 69 yards through the air before successfully splitting the uprights.

The Kicker

Ove Johansson was not your typical college football kicker. Born in Sweden, he had a background in soccer, which undoubtedly contributed to his kicking prowess. 

His experience with soccer gave him a powerful leg and a unique kicking style that he adapted for football. 

While many American kickers primarily use the “soccer-style” approach with a step or two before striking the ball, Johansson used more of a “straight-on” style, which was less common in that era.

The Conditions

Weather conditions can play a significant role in the outcome of a field goal attempt, especially one of this length. It’s worth noting that the kick took place in Abilene, Texas, where the climate is generally favorable for outdoor sports. 

Clear skies, calm wind, and the high elevation of Abilene likely contributed to Johansson’s ability to make this incredible kick.

Impact and Legacy

Ove Johansson’s 69-yard field goal remains an iconic moment in college football history. It showcased the potential of the human leg and the artistry of kicking in American football. 

His record still stands as of my knowledge cutoff date in September 2021, and it’s a record that has challenged subsequent generations of kickers to aim for the stars.

Future Prospects

The world of college football continues to evolve, and while Johansson’s record has been held for decades, it’s always possible that another kicker will one day break this remarkable record. 

As training techniques, equipment, and athletes’ skills continue to advance, the possibility of a longer field goal becomes more feasible.

Ove Johansson’s 69-yard field goal in 1976 at Abilene Christian University is a legendary moment in the history of college football. It reflects the unique skills and determination of a kicker who was able to achieve the seemingly impossible. 

This record-setting kick continues to inspire kickers and fans alike, reminding us of the extraordinary feats that can be achieved on the gridiron.

8 Longest Field Goals Kicked In College Football

8 Longest Field Goals Kicked In College Football

College football has seen its fair share of incredible moments, but few are as jaw-dropping as the remarkable long-distance field goals that have been kicked over the years. 

The ability to launch a football through the uprights from a great distance requires a combination of power, accuracy, and nerves of steel. 

Here, we’ll explore eight of the longest field goals kicked in college football history, highlighting the kickers and the circumstances that led to these extraordinary feats.

67 Yards – Russell Erxleben, Texas Longhorns

  • Date: October 22, 1977

Russell Erxleben’s 67-yard field goal stands as a testament to his powerful leg. This remarkable kick was achieved during a game against Rice University, and it remains tied for the longest field goal in college football history. 

Erxleben was a versatile athlete, handling both punting and kicking duties for the Texas Longhorns. His record-setting kick showcased his incredible leg strength and accuracy.

67 Yards – Steve Little, Arkansas Razorbacks

  • Date: October 12, 1977

Steve Little’s 67-yard field goal, achieved during a game against Texas, shares the record with Russell Erxleben. 

Little, who played for the Arkansas Razorbacks, is remembered for his clutch kick, which remains one of the most iconic moments in Razorbacks football history. 

His boot showcased the incredible range that kickers can possess.

67 Yards – Joe Williams, Wichita State Shockers

  • Date: October 21, 1978

Joe Williams of the Wichita State Shockers made history with a 67-yard field goal against Southern Illinois. Like Erxleben and Little, Williams’ remarkable kick tied the record for the longest field goal in college football. 

The fact that multiple kickers achieved this feat within a short timeframe underscores the exceptional nature of their accomplishments.

65 Yards – Tony Franklin, Texas A&M Aggies

  • Date: October 16, 1976

Tony Franklin, while playing for the Texas A&M Aggies, showcased his kicking prowess with a 65-yard field goal. 

This remarkable kick occurred in a game against Baylor and stood as a college football record for a time. 

Franklin’s accuracy and leg strength made him a force to be reckoned with, and his achievement is still celebrated by Aggies fans.

65 Yards – Martin Gramatica, Kansas State Wildcats

  • Date: November 27, 1998

Martin Gramatica, a standout kicker for the Kansas State Wildcats, matched Tony Franklin’s 65-yard field goal distance. 

Gramatica’s kick occurred during a game against Northern Illinois and was part of his impressive college football career. 

His precision and ability to make long-distance field goals earned him recognition as one of the best kickers in the sport.

61 Yards – Joshua Karty, Stanford Cardinal

  • Date: October 9, 1999

Joshua Karty’s 61-yard field goal for the Stanford Cardinal is another remarkable entry in the history of long-distance kicks. Karty’s feat occurred during a game against 

Arizona State and it highlighted his ability to deliver under pressure. While not a record at the time, a 61-yard field goal remains an extraordinary achievement in college football.

59 Yards – Jake Moody, Michigan Wolverines

  • Date: November 27, 2021

Jake Moody’s 59-yard field goal for the Michigan Wolverines is a more recent addition to the list of impressive kicks. Moody’s feat took place during a game against Maryland, and it showcased the strength and accuracy of his leg. 

This remarkable kick earned him recognition and admiration from football fans nationwide.

56 Yards – Dominik Zvada, Arkansas State and Harrison Mevis, Missouri

  • Date (Zvada): November 5, 2005
  • Date (Mevis): September 18, 2021

Dominik Zvada of Arkansas State and Harrison Mevis of Missouri share the record for a 56-yard field goal. 

Zvada’s kick occurred during a game against Louisiana-Lafayette in 2005, while Mevis matched the distance during a game against Southeast Missouri State in 2021. 

Both kicks demonstrated the impressive skills of these kickers and their ability to make long-distance field goals.

The history of long-distance field goals in college football is filled with awe-inspiring moments that celebrate the extraordinary talents of these kickers. 

From Russell Erxleben’s and Steve Little’s 67-yard kicks to the more recent achievements of Jake Moody, Dominik Zvada, and Harrison Mevis, these records represent the pinnacle of kicking in college football.

These kickers not only made history but also left a lasting legacy in the sport, inspiring future generations of football players and fans alike.


What is the longest field goal kicked in college football?

The longest field goal kicked in college football is 69 yards. This record is held by Ove Johansson, who achieved the feat on October 16, 1976, while playing for Abilene Christian University.

Who previously held the record for the longest college football field goal?

Before Ove Johansson’s 69-yard kick, the record for the longest college football field goal was 67 yards, a record shared by Russell Erxleben of Texas, Steve Little of Arkansas, and Joe Williams of Wichita State.

Has anyone come close to breaking the 69-yard field goal record in college football?

While some have come close, the 69-yard record has remained intact for several decades. Kicking a field goal of such length requires exceptional leg strength and accuracy, making it a rare achievement.

When did Ove Johansson set the record for the longest field goal in college football?

Ove Johansson set the record for the longest field goal in college football on October 16, 1976. His 69-yard field goal was a historic moment in the sport and remains a legendary feat.

Is the college football record for the longest field goal still held by Ove Johansson?

Yes, Ove Johansson’s record of a 69-yard field goal in college football still holds. It is one of the most iconic records in the sport, showcasing the extraordinary abilities of college kickers.

Wrapping Up

In the world of college football, where legends are born with every touchdown and tackle, the record for the longest field goal is a beacon of excellence. 

From the historic 69-yard kick by Ove Johansson to the modern feats that keep fans on the edge of their seats, these moments embody the essence of the sport. 

They showcase the power, precision, and unwavering determination of the athletes who dare to kick it long.

While records may be broken and distances extended, the allure of the longest field goal in college football remains timeless. 

It’s a testament to the indomitable spirit of players who take aim from incredible distances, aiming not just for the goalposts, but for a place in the annals of football history. 

As the seasons unfold and new kickers rise to the challenge, the quest for the longest field goal continues to captivate our imaginations, reminding us that in college football, anything is possible.

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn