Way, who has known Sharp since they were juniors in high school, certainly knows how it feels. In 2009, Way made just 1 of his 6 field goal attempts, including three misses in a 10-3 loss to Nebraska.
“The reason I called him (after the Iowa State loss) is that we're pretty tight,” Way said. “He's one incredible kicker and punter, so it's been fun competing against him in the same conference, but we actually knew each other before either one of us had an offer.”
From those conversations, Sharp was reminded to get back to his routine, relax, trust himself and to not over-think things. And soon, his mind was back in the right spot.
The Fiesta Bowl, of course, gave Sharp a quick chance at redemption. He called that opportunity “very rewarding.” But Sharp also admitted it was “hard to watch” Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson miss the potential game-winner from 35 yards out as time expired in regulation and a 43-yarder in overtime.
Sharp's been there. Most kickers have.
That positive end to last season has carried over to 2012, where the reigning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year has continued to shine. Sharp is averaging 47.5 yards per punt, including two that went more than 70 yards last week against Kansas. He's boomed 31 touchbacks on 37 kickoffs. He's made 9 of his 12 field goal attempts, including a career-long 51-yarder against Louisiana-Lafayette.
And he had his best all-around game of the season — and perhaps his career — against the Jayhawks, averaging 53 yards per punt, connecting on 2-of-3 field goals (49 and 42 yards) and tallying four touchbacks on five kickoffs. He also made potentially a touchdown-saving tackle on a kickoff return and all but sealed the Cowboy victory when he drew a roughing- the-kicker penalty on a punt that gave OSU a first down late in the fourth quarter.
“It definitely shows Quinn does have a lot of resilience,” Cowboys linebacker Alex Elkins said, “because he bounced back, had a very short memory from (the ISU game). But that's how you've got to be as a player on this team. You can't remember things like that. You can't remember the losses.
“If you are going to remember anything, you've got to remember the pain you felt and know that you don't want to feel that again.”
So, Sharp still feels disappointment when thinking back to that November night in Ames.
But almost 11 months later, he's mentally come to terms with the miss, with the help of his kicking fraternity buddies, his family and teammates and, ultimately, his own mind.
“To be great, to be successful,” Sharp said, “you have to train yourself to let go and just tell yourself there's going to be another opportunity, and I have to capitalize.”