EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State sophomore Matt Coghlin has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best placekicker.
Coghlin is 11-for-12 in field-goal attempts this season (.917), which ranks fifth best in the FBS, and he currently ranks first in MSU history with his .839 career field-goal percentage (26-of-31). The Cincinnati, Ohio, native ranks among the Big Ten leaders in PAT percentage (first at 1.000), field-goal percentage (first at .917, minimum 10 attempts), field goals made (tied for third with 11) and scoring (sixth at 7.3 ppg).
The 5-9, 190-pound Coghlin kicked two field goals in the first half (43 yards, 48 yards) against Purdue to extend his school-record streak to 18 straight, but he had a 37-yard attempt blocked in the third quarter to snap the streak. Coghlin bounced back to connect on a 34-yard attempt later in the third quarter that put MSU on top, 16-6. It marked Coghlin’s second game of the season and fourth of his career with at least three field goals. Coghlin’s 48-yard field goal was the second longest of his career behind a 49-yarder vs. Utah State (Aug. 31). He has three field goals of 40-plus yards this season, and is 7-of-9 on field goals of 40-49 yards for his career.
Semifinalists will be voted on by a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers to select the three finalists. These finalists will be announced on Nov. 20 and honored at the 27th annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Banquet on Dec. 3 in Palm Beach County. The same panel then selects the winner, who will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 6.
The award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Although an All-Pro offensive lineman as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.
Since the first Lou Groza Award was handed out in 1992, 26 finalists, including 14 winners, have gone on to appear in the NFL, earning 10 trips to the Pro Bowl and taking home seven Super Bowls. That list includes 2018 NFL kickers Dan Bailey, Randy Bullock, Daniel Carlson, Mason Crosby, Jake Elliott, Ka’imi Fairbairn, Graham Gano, Zane Gonzalez, Dustin Hopkins, Sebastian Janikowski, Mike Nugent, Cairo Santos, and Caleb Sturgis.
Michigan State (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) returns to action Saturday, Nov. 3 to face Maryland (5-3, 3-2) in College Park, Maryland, at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Coghlin was named the Big Ten Co-Special Teams Player of the Week following his performance at Indiana on Sept. 22. He scored on a 6-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal in the third quarter to give MSU a 28-7 lead over Indiana, becoming the first Spartan to score a touchdown and then kick the PAT on his own TD since Sam Williams in 1958 against Wisconsin. Coghlin also connected on all five of his PATs in MSU’s 35-21 win at Indiana.
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