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Nittany Lions await bowl game selection after 6-6 season
Penn State's contest against Temple in Lincoln Financial Field last November was a thrill for the numerous Nittany Lions from greater Philadelphia for a variety of reasons. The vast majority of the players were able to see game action in one of the nation's state-of-the-art facilities. Penn State posted its second shutout of the season in front of more than an estimated 40,000 family, friends and Nittany Lion fans. The day will be remembered as a special one for placekicker Kevin Kelly, who broke the school career scoring record that afternoon near his hometown of Langhorne, Pa. The humble and highly skilled Kelly takes all his accolades and records in stride, but the fact remains that he broke Craig Fayak's scoring record of 282 points before the end of his junior season. The former Neshaminy HS standout was a consistently productive threat throughout 2007 and enters his senior season having made at least one field goal in a school-record 20 consecutive games. The Nittany Lions' placekicker the past three seasons, Kelly also owns the Penn State career mark for field goals made with 58. He has 307 career points, including a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Possessing a strong and accurate leg, he has posted three of the top five kick scoring seasons in Penn State annals. Kelly tallied 104 points in 2007, trailing only Travis Forney's 107 points from 1999 in the school records book. Ranking among the greatest kickers in program history, the hard-working Kelly is the first Nittany Lion to score 90 or more points in three seasons. During the 2007 season, he accumulated 110 overall points, connecting on 20-of-26 (76.9.) field goals and 44-of-45 PAT attempts, in addition to his touchdown at Michigan State. Kelly is one of the squad's most out-going and service-oriented members, participating in the THON Make-A-Wish program, student-athlete reading program, Pennsylvania Special Olympics State Summer Games and Habitat for Humanity, among other programs. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Kelly should be a strong candidate for the 2008 Lou Groza Award, presented to the nation's top placekicker.
2007 Junior Season
In his third year as the Nittany Lions' placekicker, Kelly broke the Penn State career scoring and field goals made records before the end of his junior campaign. Kelly passed Craig Fayak's record of 282 points in the win at Temple, finishing the season with 307 total points, including a touchdown and a two-point conversion. He has posted three of the top five kick scoring seasons in Penn State annals. He tallied 104 points in 2007, trailing only Travis Forney's 107 points from 1999 in the school records book, becoming the first Nittany Lion to score 90 or more points in three seasons. During the season, he accumulated 110 overall points, connecting on 20-of-26 (76.9.) field goals and 44-of-45 PAT attempts, in addition to his touchdown against the Spartans. Kelly was third in the Big Ten in field goals per game (1.54) and was fourth in the conference in kick scoring (8.0 avg.), just seven total points behind the leader. He also was fourth in the league in overall scoring. Overcoming the back pain that impacted him during his sophomore season, Kelly averaged 64.6 yards on his 78 kickoffs, with 21 touchbacks. Against Notre Dame, he connected on his only field goal attempt (37 yards), for a 17-7 lead, and averaged 70 yards on six kickoffs, including two touchbacks. At Michigan, he made all three of his field goal attempts (28, 29, 31 yards). In the win over Iowa, Kelly made a career-long 53-yard field goal as the first half expired. The 53-yard boot was Penn State's longest since Massimo Manca's 53-yarder against Notre Dame in 1985, also tying Manca's mark for the longest field goal in Beaver Stadium history. Kelly was three-of-three on field goals at Indiana, passing Fayak (50) to become the school career leader (52). He averaged 67.5 yards on eight kickoffs, with six touchbacks, against the Hoosiers. At Temple, he connected on his only field goal attempt of the day (32 yards) late in the first half for a 17-0 lead to become Penn State's career scoring leader, passing Fayak (282, 1990-93). A week after breaking the scoring mark, Kelly tallied 13 points at Michigan State. Six points came early in the second half, when he lined up for a short field goal, but took a direct snap from Patrick Weber and darted through the left side of the line for a five-yard touchdown, giving the Lions a 24-7 lead. Kelly is two-of-two in his career when carrying the ball, having also run for a two-point conversion at Michigan in 2005. The fake field goal was Penn State's first since Chris Ganter ran 30 yards for a score in a win over Virginia in 2002. Kelly finished the season by connecting on a 25-yard field goal to give the Lions a 17-14 halftime lead in the 24-17 win over Texas A&M in the Valero Alamo Bowl. The kick pushed his school record with at least one made field goal to 20 consecutive games. He averaged 66.4 yards on five kickoffs against the Aggies with two touchbacks. Kelly was on the field for 152 plays during the season. He was selected Academic All-Big Ten.
2006 Sophomore Season
Kelly led the Nittany Lions with 96 points and tied for the Big Ten lead in overall scoring (7.4 ppg), while leading the conference in kick scoring. For the season, he was 22-of-34 on field goals and a perfect 30-of-30 on PAT attempts, tied with two others for the conference lead at 100 percent. Kelly had 51 kickoffs, averaging 60.4 yards per attempt, with 20 touchbacks. Kelly connected on a pair of career-long 49-yard field goals to highlight his sophomore campaign. He hit three field goals against Youngstown State, including his first 49-yard effort. He also drilled an important 49-yard trey in the comeback win over Illinois. Kelly equaled his career-high by connecting on all four of his field goal attempts and going three-of-three on PAT attempts for 15 points in the Nittany Lions' 33-7 win over Northwestern. He made 39 and 42-yard field goals in a steady rain against Akron and hit a pair of field goals at Ohio State. Kelly was four-of-four on PATs at Minnesota, including the game-winner in overtime. Kelly made 29 and 44-yard field goals in the 12-0 win at Purdue, battling winds that gusted to 40 miles per hour during the game. He drilled a 39-yard trey at No. 17 Wisconsin to knot the game at 3-3 in the second quarter. Kelly made an important 45-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against Michigan State, boosting the Lions' lead to 17-13 and hit a pair of field goals in the 20-10 win over Tennessee in the Outback Bowl. He was on the field for 109 snaps. Kelly earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades.
2005 Freshman Season
Kelly came into the season already having distinguished himself as the first Nittany Lion true freshman to earn place-kicking duties in a season-opener since Craig Fayak in 1990. Kelly got the nod in the opener against South Florida and as the regular-season concluded he had further distinguished himself by breaking Fayak's school freshman scoring record. But, Kelly forever etched his name in Penn State lore in the FedEx Orange Bowl, connecting on a 29-yard field goal in the third overtime to lift the Nittany Lions to a thrilling 26-23 victory over Florida State. Kelly handled the pressure well throughout his rookie season and ranked fifth in the Big Ten in scoring (second among kickers) with 99 points. The Sporting News and collegefootballnews.com recognized his efforts by selecting Kelly as a third-team Freshman All-American. He also was named to TSN's Freshman All-Big Ten team. He connected on 16 of 23 field goal attempts and was 49-of-50 on PAT attempts. His 99 points were good for ninth place on the Penn State season list and shattered Fayak's freshman scoring mark of 74 points in 1990. Kelly's game-winning field goal against Florida State gave him 16 for the season to break a tie with Fayak for the Penn State freshman mark. The 16 treys were tied for 11th place on the school season field goal list overall. Kelly came through with the top game of his rookie season against Purdue, connecting on all four of his field goal attempts and going three-of-three on PAT tries to break the school freshman season scoring mark. He made field goals of 27, 25, 33 and 22 yards en route to tallying a season-best 15 points. His 33-yard effort came on the last play of the first half for a 16-7 Penn State lead. The last time a Nittany Lion had made four field goals was Robbie Gould at Wisconsin in 2002. Against Minnesota, Kelly made three field goals, including a 47-yarder, his longest of the season. He also connected on a 41-yard field goal in the huge 17-10 win over Ohio State. Besides his kicking talents, Kelly took a fumbled hold at Michigan and alertly found a seam and demonstrated his athleticism by running for a two-point conversion and an 18-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Kelly had an outstanding career at Neshaminy HS, where he was a four-year starter in football and a two-year starter on the baseball diamond. He was an Associated Press first-team all-state pick and a four-time all-league selection for Coach Mark Schmidt on the gridiron. Kelly was the Bucks County Courier-Times and The Trentonian first-team all-area place-kicker. He was 10-of-17 on field goals as a senior and did not miss an extra point his last two years. As a freshman, he connected on a 54-yard field goal and helped Neshaminy win the 2001 Class AAAA state championship. He was selected to play in the 2005 Big 33 Classic against Ohio. Kelly also earned honorable-mention all-state honors and was all-league twice in baseball.
Full name is Kevin Patrick Kelly. He has an older sister, Meghan, and lists sports and music as hobbies. Kelly is a kinesiology major. Born August 1, 1987 in Bristol, Pa.
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