Senior kicker Kevin Kelly (Langhorne, Pa.) has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award. Kelly, who has made a field goal in a school record 29 consecutive games, has been a major part of Penn States success this season, helping the No. 3 Nittany Lions to a 9-0 start; 5-0 in the Big Ten.
Kelly is Penn States first Lou Groza semifinalist since 1999 when Travis Forney was selected to the list. Kelly and Wisconsins Phillip Welch are the only Groza semifinalists from Big Ten schools.
The top three finalists for the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will be honored during an awards banquet and silent auction presented by the FedEx Orange Bowl on Tues., Dec. 9 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in Palm Beach, Fla. The event is sponsored by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. The 2008 winner of the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will be announced on Thurs., Dec. 11 during the ESPNU College Football Awards Show in Orlando.
Voters for the award include Division I-A head coaches, sports writers and sportscasters, conference representatives, professional kickers, and previous Groza Award finalists.
Kelly is the most accomplished kicker in Penn State history, emerging as the programs all-time leader in points (391), kick scoring (383), and field goals made (72), and field goal attempts (100). This season, the Langhorne, Pa. native has made 14-of-17 (82.4) field goal attempts and all 44 of his PAT kicks en route to a pair of conference records.
In the 46-17 thumping of Michigan, Kelly accounted for a season-high 14 points, connecting on three field goals and five extra points, to become the Big Tens all-time leader in career kick scoring. His 35-yard field goal in the final 70 seconds win over Ohio State moved Kelly into a first place tie for made field goals (72) in Big Ten history. He ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 16 in the nation in scoring, averaging 9.6 points per game.
Kellys career long field goal is 53 yards, made against Iowa in a 27-7 Nittany Lion victory at Beaver Stadium in 2007. The kick was Penn States longest in 22 years. Earlier this season, versus Oregon State, Kelly narrowly fell short on a 60-yard attempt.