You never really forget a nightmare.
You compartmentalize the nightmare and then store those thoughts deep inside your consciousness. That seems easy enough. But how do you forget a nightmare that's played out in front of millions of people and just so happens to be the reason that Andrew Luck walks off a loser in his final game in a Stanford uniform?
Unfortunately for Jordan Williamson, his nightmare became reality. In a conversation with Rick Neuheisel of the Pac-12 Network, Williamson reflected back on that night in Glendale.
"I was completely confident. Figured everything would go the way I planned. Visualized the kick going through. Stepped out there and obviously didn't go my way. Hooked it left. I just remember being shocked and not knowing how to react."
On to overtime and well, you know the rest.
"I was trying my best just to focus on that kick and not let any other factors seep in. I went out there and did the same thing on the previous kick. It was devastating to say the least."
It would have been a crushing experience for any player, and Williamson could have allowed the 2012 Fiesta Bowl to haunt him throughout his Stanford career. However, Williamson used his harrowing Fiesta Bowl experience to strengthen his resolve, and he's become one of the most reliable players on the Stanford roster the last two seasons.
In fact, he's just a field goal and extra point away from having his name ahead of every other player in Stanford scoring history. Williamson has experienced the lowest of lows and the highest of highs and now finds himself on the doorstep of Cardinal greatness.
His go-ahead field goal with 6:46 left in the 4th quarter against UCLA in the 2012 Pac-12 Championship helped Stanford clinch their first conference title in 13 seasons. Williamson's four field goals in last year's Oregon's game proved to be the difference in a 26-20 Stanford victory.
His most memorable moment, however, came less than a year after the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. Against Oregon in 2012, Williamson proved that he had overcome his past demons by connecting on the game winner in overtime.
"Best feeling ever. I hesitated for a moment to make sure it went through. Once the other guys started celebrating I took off with them. It was an amazing feeling."
The feeling of becoming Stanford's all-time scoring leader might be less satisfying than that. But it might have seemed like a pipe dream for Jordan Williamson just three seasons ago. And that dream may become a reality sometime in the first quarter of Saturday's game against UC Davis.