Stars of the Week
* This voting poll does not count towards actual award winner.
College football’s top kicking award, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl recognizes three of the top kickers each week from FBS division teams as the “Stars of the Week.”
It was a career game for 2013 Groza semifinalist Jake Elliott in Memphis’s 40-20 defeat of Tulsa in AAC action on Friday night in Memphis. Elliott’s 16 points were a career high and third highest in school history by a kicker. The Western Springs, Ill. native scored from 53, 51, 47 and 37 yards out and converted his four extra point tries. The 53 yarder was the second longest field goal in program history, while the 51 yarder marked the fifth 50+ yard kick already in the sophomore’s young career. His 71 points lead all Tigers in scoring.
Saturday’s Big Ten game between Penn State and Maryland in State College was all about the kickers, with senior Sam Ficken earning Star of the Week recognition for kicking field goals of 48, 47, 46 and 25 yards in the Nittany Lions’ heart-breaking 20-19 loss to the Terps on Brad Craddock’s game-winning kick of 43 yards in the final minutes. Ficken, a native of Valparaiso, Ind. became the first Penn State kicker to have three field goals of more than 45 yards in a game since at least 1982, and his 13 points moved him into sixth place in all-time Penn State scoring with 239. He has made 17 of his 19 field goal attempts this season and all 17 extra point attempts. He leads all Nittany Lion scorers with 68 points.
Arizona State rode the leg of sophomore Zane Gonzalez to a 19-16 overtime defeat of Utah in Tempe late Saturday night. The victory kept the Sun Devils in first place in the Pac-12 South and increased their hopes for a chance to play for a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Deer Park, Texas native, a 2013 Groza semifinalist, earned his second Star of the Week selection this season by connecting on field goals of 45, 30 and 20 yards in regulation, and his first career game-winner from 36 yards out in overtime. Gonzalez is 14 of 17 on the season and leads all Sun Devil players in scoring with 69 points.
The Lou Groza Award will be presented as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, December 11th. The three finalists will be honored at the 23rd Annual Lou Groza Awards Banquet on Tuesday, December 9th at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. For more information on the Lou Groza Award, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, and to vote for your favorite Star of the Week, visit www.LouGrozaAward.com.
National College Football Awards Association
The Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.ncfaa.org.
About the Palm Beach County Sports Commission
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination. The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (primarily in the off-season), and maximizes utilization of County facilities. The Commission offers a full range of event service support, corporate partnerships, sponsorships and a local membership program that support its goals. Local, regional, national and international marketing efforts are ongoing by the Commission with sports organizations and event owners. The Commission also produces sports-related programs for the residents of Palm Beach County including the annual Lou Groza Awards program, the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame, the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches and awards the annual Sam Budnyk Student-Athlete Scholarship. For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission go to www.palmbeachsports.com.