UFL kicker Jake Bates drills 64-yard game-winning field goal in epic fashion

Jake Bates
Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The United Football League kicked off its inaugural season on Saturday with the hopes of generating excitement from football fans looking for something to watch this spring. Michigan Panthers kicker Jake Bates just delivered a game-winning field goal that has everyone talking.

Facing the St. Louis Battlehawks on Saturday night, Bates and the Panthers were in a very difficult position. Trailing 16-15 with very little time remaining, Michigan’s. hopes of a season-opening victory were slim.

Related: UFL schedule

While the Panthers were able to move the football from the 35-yard line to the Battlehawks’ 46-yard line with 19 seconds left, that’s where the drive stalled. Michigan’s next two plays were incomplete passes, putting the entire game on Bates’ leg from 64 yards out. He delivered.

What’s even more stunning than the 64-yard field, game-winning field goal are the circumstances that led Bates to this point. As noted by Dan Borrello, Bates converted his first attempt from 64 yards out but it was nullified by a penalty. So, he went back out there and delivered the UFL its first signature moment. Even more stunning, Bakes is a kickoff specialist and this was his first field-goal attempt since 2017 in high school.

Related: UFL rules

Who is Jake Bates?

Jake Bates
Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Bates never had an opportunity to kick a field goal during his three-year collegiate career with Texas State and Arkansas from 2020-’22. As a kickoff specialist, both the Bobcats and Razorbacks relied entirely on Bates’ leg to launch footballs into the end zone. The Texas native proved his powerful leg can do even more.

Related: Longest field goals in NFL history

Bates did previously get a shot in the NFL. He signed with the Houston Texans in July 2023, but he was released by the team in August. While the new NFL kickoff rules certainly won’t increase Bates’ chances of making it back to the NFL, this game-winning kick will earn him a shot to keep proving himself on deep field goals.

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