IOWA CITY – Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos made his way to the visitor’s media room, nearly an hour after his team had shocked Iowa Saturday on a last-second field goal. As long as it took him to make his way out of the locker room and to the podium, he wasted no time addressing his kicker.
“David Harman, you know, you guys don’t know him,” Enos said.
Two years ago, neither did he.
“When I got the job two years ago, in spring practice he was probably the third or fourth kicker,” Enos said. “I didn’t even know who he was. I was like ‘Who is this guy?’ That’s a true story.”
After four field goals, specifically a 47-yarder that gave the Chippewas a 32-31 lead with three seconds left, a lot more people know who David Harman is.
All it was took a failed two-point conversion after a last-minute touchdown, two onside kicks with a holder – something it never practiced – and a career-long boot.
But even that doesn’t compare to his journey that put him in the position to make that game-winning kick.
Harman started the 2010 season as the third-string kicker. Some teams don’t even have a set-in-stone third-string quarterback, but the walk-on waited for his opportunity.
It came in the second game of the season against Temple, when not one, but both of the kickers in front of him left the game with injuries.
“Whoever that’s happened to is nobody but us,” Enos said.
In a 10-7 game, Harman split the uprights on a 31-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. The Chippewas lost, but Harman won the kicking job and never relinquished.
Fast forward to Saturday at Kinnick Stadium and Harman, now a senior, stood with an opportunity to give CMU its first ever win against the Hawkeyes. All he needed was a career long.
“I didn’t hit it perfectly. I caught if fat so it came off a little low,” Harman said. “But I know for me that that distance, I should get it there pretty much every time.”
Despite being a career long, it was something he drilled many times in practice. He was ready – and confident – to kick one from 52 yards, if he had to.
Arguably the more difficult task he had to deal with was the onside kick prior.
The ball blew off the tee, twice, forcing the Chippewas to hold the ball for the kickoff. The play, called “Houdini,” not only had been semi-exposed, but now had to be run with a holder, something they never practiced.
The first time it failed, as Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz recovered, but an illegal procedure penalty forced a re-kick.
Harman tried to argue since it was a re-kick he didn’t need a holder, but the officials made him execute the kick, holder and all.
“I had never tried one with a holder. Not an onside, but after the first one, after they called the penalty, I just told him, ‘Before I get there, just move,’” Harman said. “… Obviously we didn’t plan it that way but you know sometimes you just need the ball to bounce your way sometimes and it did for us today.”
As easy as Fiedorowicz recovered the first, Iowa looked confused by what “Houdini” showed the second time.
There was no indecision from the 6-foot, 194-pound kicker on Saturday. He lined up for four field goals, and nailed all four. The final one silenced 70,585.
“I mean it’s definitely something I’ll tell my kids,” Harman said. “That’s that moment that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. That’s what you dream about is, coming to a place like this just to do what you do.”
And what he did was make sure the state of Iowa now knows who he is.