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UND FOOTBALL: Zeb Miller becoming one in a line of quality kickers

Growing up in Ankeny, Iowa, Zeb Miller was aware of Todd Sievers -- an ex-Ankeny High School kicker who starred at Miami and played on the Hurricanes' 2001 national championship team.

UND's Zeb Miller
UND's Zeb Miller kicks a point against Montana Western at the Alerus Center Saturday Oct. 8, 2011. Herald photo by John Stennes.

Growing up in Ankeny, Iowa, Zeb Miller was aware of Todd Sievers -- an ex-Ankeny High School kicker who starred at Miami and played on the Hurricanes' 2001 national championship team.

But Miller didn't closely follow Sievers' All-American career. He wasn't quite yet a college football fan.

"My parents followed his career and once I started to get into kicking, I talked to my parents a little more and they updated me on what he did in high school," Miller said.

Sievers did plenty at Ankeny, highlighted by his state-record 63-yard field goal.

Ankeny, as it turns out, has produced a number of quality kickers under coach Peter Rameh. Miller eventually turned out to be one of those kickers.

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"Kicking is one of our strong suits at Ankeny," Miller said.

Now, Miller is turning out to be another in a succession of quality kickers at UND, where the sophomore has become one of the top scoring threats for the Sioux, who meet Sioux Falls on Saturday at the Alerus Center.

Miller kicked a game-winning 54-yard field goal at Northern Colorado last week, his career best. He drilled the game-winner after missing one field-goal attempt and having another blocked.

But his memory is short, a good trait for kickers.

"I still get upset if I miss a kick," Miller said. "I just go back to the (kicking) net, take some more swings at the ball and get ready to kick again."

At Northern Colorado, Miller said he was connecting on kicks around 60 yards during warm-ups. "I was comfortably hitting kicks between 52 and 55 yards," he said.

So, what's his limit?

"If you're looking at ideal situations, no wind and just going out and kicking, on most days I feel comfortable anywhere from 55 to 60 yards," Miller said.

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Miller is 12-for-14 on field-goal attempts this season, and is 6-for-7 on attempts from more than 40 yards. He's improved considerably since last season when he was 3-for-9 on attempts from 40-plus yards.

His season is starting to stack up to other UND kickers, notably Jeff Glas -- the all-time Sioux scoring leader -- Cameron Peterka, Pat Beaty, Juan Gomez-Tagle and Brandon Hellevang. Miller's leg may be one of the strongest the program has seen, although UND coach Chris Mussman believes Glas had the most pop in his leg.

Miller missed a late 41-yard attempt at Cal Poly last year that potentially could have given the Sioux a road win. Since that miss, Miller has been steady.

"He's become a pretty good weapon for us," Mussman said. "It was our eighth game of the season and his first miss of the season. That's a pretty good year."

Up next

Who: Sioux Falls at UND.

When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Alerus Center.

Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).

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Records: UND 5-3; Sioux Falls 5-3.

Of note: Sioux Falls, a transitioning Division II program, will be playing its last game of the season.

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com .

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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