Sturgis misses on Lou Groza Award
No disrespect to the other finalists, but Caleb Sturgis should have won the Lou Groza Award.
Florida Gators football coach Will Muschamp called Sturgis the best kicker in college football and the strong-footed senior should have the hardware to prove it.
Sturgis did not win the Lou Groza Award during ESPN College Football Awards Show on Thursday night. The annual award is for the “nation’s most outstanding placekicker.” He would have been the second UF kicker to earn the award, joining Judd Davis who was the second Lou Groza Award winner in 1993.
Of all of Sturgis' statistics, which include school records and put him among SEC and national leaders, perhaps the most convincing was the fact Sturgis was 9 of 9 on field goals against opponents ranked in the Associated Press’ Top 10.
In fact, he was the only kicker in the country with six or more attempts who didn’t miss a field goal against top-10 opponents. If that’s not clutch enough, he also was the only kicker with 10 or more attempts without a miss during road games, going 14 of 14 when kicking in unfriendly confines.
The St. Augustine native lost out to long-time friend Cairo Santos of Tulane. Santos, who also from St. Augustine, was 21 of 21 on field goals, but did not have any attempts against ranked opponents, much less any in the top-10. Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins was 24 of 28 this season, but was just 2 of 4 vs. ranked opponents.
In other words, Sturgis made more field goals when it counted the most.
Sturgis, who already has earned a degree in Sports Management and is in graduate school, was named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2009 and was one of three finalists in 2011.
Sturgis, who was named the SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year this week, hit 85.2 percent of his field goal attempts to lead the league with 23 made field goals, which is a career high after he hit 22 twice before in his career. The 23 field goals also are fifth most nationally.
Three of Sturgis’ four missed field goals were blocked. He was 32 of 33 on extra points, with the lone miss being blocked.
So, he actually only missed once, but ended up missing out on the national award for the best kicker.
He made three field goals four times this season and was 3 of 3 from 50-plus yards. Sturgis drilled 51-yarders against Bowling Green and Texas A&M and a 50-yarder against Georgia.
His eight career field goals of 50 or more yards and his 69 career field goals made are UF records. The senior is the third player in UF history to score 300 or more career points and led the No. 3 Gators this season with 101 points.
On kickoffs, Sturgis averaged 63 yards, which is 22nd nationally. He had 29 touchbacks on 67 kickoffs. Opponents averaged just 18.49 yards per return, which is 15th nationally.
Past winners of the Lou Groza Award include Oklahoma State’s Dan Bailey (2010), Florida State’s Graham Gano (2008), Ohio State’s Mike Nugent (2004), Iowa’s Nate Kaeding (2002) and Florida State’s Sebastian Janikowski, the only two-time winner in 1998 and 1999.
Florida sophomore Kyle Christy was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, but Louisiana Tech senior Ryan Allen repeated Thursday as the winner of the award for the nation’s top punter. Florida’s Chas Henry won the award in 2010.
Christy is a sophomore, so he’ll have two more shots to join Henry as Gators’ punters to have earned the national honor.
Sturgis is a senior, so he won’t get another shot at the Lou Groza Award.
2 Comments so far
Gator Nation knows he’s the best, and one other area not mentioned is taking away his field goals and the impact that would have had on the record of the team. I am sure that when you take away the other finalists’ field goals from their team’s tallies, their contributions to the team were not as significant. FSU averaged almost 40 points a game. They couldn’t have relied upon their kicker as much as we did. Tulane won two games all year. What kind of pressure could Santos have been under when his kicks weren’t going to make a difference? This a farce.
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