LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Pat Smith calls himself a risk taker. That's how he explains why he gave up his scholarship and starting job at Western Illinois after his junior season to walk on and compete to be Nebraska's kicker for one season.

Smith will go into the Gator Bowl against Georgia on New Year's Day having made 11 of 12 field goals for the Cornhuskers, including a 42-yarder in overtime on a frosty field to beat Penn State on the road last month.

Smith originally walked on at Missouri in 2009. He transferred to FCS-level Western Illinois the next year and was the Leathernecks' kicker for three seasons.

With one year of eligibility, he decided to pursue his dream of kicking at a big-time school. He beat out Mauro Bondi for the Huskers' kicking job.

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