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Dublin: 19 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020

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

Jake Olson was the star of the win.

Image: Michael Goulding

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 programme 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.

Source: Pac-12 Networks/YouTube

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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