After N.C. State’s loss to Clemson on Saturday, kicker Kyle Bambard’s Twitter account was flooded with ugly threats and vile insults.
The number of positive tweets has since outnumbered the negative ones with maybe the most uplifting coming from North Carolina kicker Nick Weiler.
Weiler had his own struggles early in his college career but has emerged as one of the top kickers in the ACC. His 54-yard game-winning field goal at Florida State on Oct. 1 inspired some Twitter hate. Weiler tweeted a famous quote from Teddy Roosevelt about the “Man in the Arena” to Bambard as encouragement.
Weiler’s tweet bridged the usual gap between UNC and N.C. State and struck a chord with fans on both sides of the rivalry. Weiler posted his tweet on Monday at 12:17 p.m. and it has been retweeted 330 times and has 885 likes.
Bambard missed a 33-yard field goal that would have won the game for the Wolfpack at the end of regulation. Clemson went on to win the game 24-17 in overtime.
Bambard also missed a field goal from 43 yards and had a 37-yard attempt block in the loss to the Tigers.
N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said Bambard’s teammates have rallied around the sophomore kicker and have tried to stay positive.
Doeren asked fans, and other lurkers on Twitter, to try to imagine Bambard as their son before putting such vitriol on social media sites.
“He’s a kid that’s trying to do the best that he can, that cares deeply about our football team,” Doeren said on Monday. “It wasn’t intentional. It was something that we all wish was different.
“To be negative like that to a kid, in my opinion, I don’t get it. Hide behind your Twitter account and say stuff about kids like that? I don’t get it. But that’s the world we’re living in right now.”
Weiler wasn’t the only well-wisher for Bambard on Twitter. Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN’s lead college football analyst, also offered some words of encouragement.
Bambard hasn’t posted anything to his Twitter account since the Clemson game. A spokesperson for N.C. State said Bambard would not be available to the media before the Louisville game on Saturday.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio