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Nov. 3, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - 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 State's success this season, helping the No. 3 Nittany Lions to a 9-0 start; 5-0 in the Big Ten.
Kelly is Penn State's first Lou Groza semifinalist since 1999 when Travis Forney was selected to the list. Kelly and Wisconsin's Phillip Welch are the only Groza semifinalists from Big Ten schools.
Also, the Big Ten Conference announced today that the Nittany Lions' Nov. 15 home game with Indiana will kick at 12:00 p.m. and air on the Big Ten Network. Penn State will be making its third appearance of the season on the network, which can be seen in 70 million homes nationwide. Fans can find the Big Ten Network channel number for their cable or satellite TV carrier by going to: http://www.bigtennetwork.com/gamefinder.
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 program's 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 Ten's 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.
Kelly's 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 State's longest in 22 years. Earlier this season, versus Oregon State, Kelly narrowly fell short on a 60-yard attempt.
One of team's most community service-oriented members, Kelly participates in the THON Make-A-Wish program, student-athlete reading program, Pennsylvania Special Olympics State Summer Games, and Habitat for Humanity, among other programs. Also an accomplished student, he is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
The Groza Award is named for NFL Hall-of-Fame kicker Lou 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. Nicknamed "The Toe," Groza was one of the first people to truly make kicking an art form, and he helped usher in to football the idea that a player could be used exclusively for kicking. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.
Coach Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions return to action on Saturday at Iowa. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET; 2:30 p.m. CT in Iowa City. The game will be an ABC regional telecast, with ESPN airing outside the ABC coverage area, and also will air on the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.