Hopkins sets scoring marks in win

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The kick was perfect, straight down the middle from 51 yards out as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the first half Saturday.

Dustin Hopkins got pats on the back and a few hugs from teammates, but he had no idea he was celebrating a record.

"I had no idea where I was at [in the rankings]," Hopkins said. "I didn't know until after it was over."

A teammate broke the news that Hopkins had just set the Florida State and ACC marks for career scoring, passing Derek Schmidt for the Seminoles' record and Maryland's Nick Novack in conference play.

While the moment was hardly planned out in advance, Hopkins still had a sizable crew to help celebrate the record. His parents, sister and grandparents were in attendance, and after the record-setting kick, Hopkins found his father in the stands and shared a hug.

"They might have known [about the record] and not told me," Hopkins said. "They didn't let me know."

The record was virtually inevitable for Hopkins, who has slowly marched toward the top of the record books since taking over as FSU's kicker as a freshman. For four years, he's been as reliable as any kicker in the nation, and he's now just 31 points shy of matching Art Carmody's NCAA scoring record.

But even for Florida State's most reliable kicker, there were bumps in the road, including three straight misses earlier this season. He's tweaked his mechanics, and the anticipated results didn't materialize. Getting back to his roots the past few weeks, however, have brought familiar success.

"He's really now starting to kick the ball," Fisher said. "He changed his routine and went back to the old way he was kicking. The thud in the ball the last two weeks in practice has been totally different."

The 51-yard field goal that sealed the record was Hopkins' fifth of at least 50 yards. It came as time expired, with the pressure on. It came just three plays after a momentum-changing interception by the defense.

It was, Hopkins said, a perfect way to set the record, even if he had no idea he'd done it.

"This is a career goal marked off," Hopkins said. "I'm just humbled by the whole thing."