Baylor's 'Wonderland': Freshman kicker’s magic moment goes viral

Baylor redshirt freshman kicker John Mayers’ 38-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining delivered the Bears a 23-21 victory over Iowa State. And it ended up transcending the immediate significant – bailing out his teammates, who’d squandered a 20-point fourth-quarter lead.

The kick marked the confluence of many moments – Mayers’ first career field goal, Baylor’s first field goal of the season and the game-winner that thrust Baylor to 4-0 and likely a national ranking this weekend. “That was definitely the best feeling of my life so far, to be honest,” Mayers told Yahoo Sports after the game.

The kick also went viral on Twitter, in part because of how close Mayers’ last name is to singer John Mayer. A flurry of puns, GIFs and jokes like, “His right leg is a wonderland” flew around the internet. This isn’t new to Mayers, who usually tells people when asked how to spell his name: “Like the singer with an ‘s’ on the end,” he said with a laugh. “I’m used to it by now.” He joked after the game that folks shouldn’t get too carried away – the singer John Mayer will still likely come up when someone googles his name.

While Mayers was chatting with Yahoo Sports on Saturday night, giddy Baylor coach Matt Rhule grabbed the phone and repeated a joke he made to the team in the locker room after the game: “My boy went in and changed his dating profile on social media to single when he made that kick,” Rhule cracked.

That notion quickly got denied, leaving the singer John Mayer with the celebrity dating history. “No,” Mayers said, when asked to confirm Rhule’s joke. “I have a girlfriend.”

What was the key to hitting the field goal? Mayers said he tried to stick with his sideline routine, but did say that he and fellow kicker Jay Sedwick said a prayer on the sideline that lasted between 30 and 60 seconds. “Just giving thanks,” he said.

The kick was a no-doubter, atoning for a missed 38-yarder earlier in the game. “I got hugged by a lot of guys,” Mayers said of the game-winner’s aftermath. “I couldn’t breathe for a while.”

Mayers peeked at his phone and saw 22 texts, 25 SnapChat messages and 23 Twitter mentions. For one night, John Mayers captured the internet from his singing counterpart.

Baylor place kicker John Mayers (L) walks off with teammate Russell Morrison after defeating Iowa State in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Waco, Texas. Mayers had the game-winning field goal late in the game. (AP)

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