Mountain West Football: Three Kickers Named To Lou Groza Award Watch List
Nevada, San Diego State, and San Jose State land their kickers among college football’s best.
A new crop of specialists takes aim at the award.
College football’s watch list season continued today with the reveal of the Lou Groza Award watch list, which is given annually to college football’s best kicker. The Mountain West established a trio of effective kickers in 2019 and all three, now sophomores, are among 30 in this year’s preseason cut.
Nevada’s Brandon Talton burst onto the national scene after stunning Purdue with a 56-yard walk-off field goal against Purdue, but he went on to finish the year 21-of-25 on field goal tries, which included 13 consecutive successes to begin his collegiate career and five of 40 yards, and 27-of-29 on extra point attempts.
San Diego State’s Matt Araiza was just as reliable for the Aztecs, however, in replacing multi-year starter John Baron II. He was perfect on 28 extra point attempts, the only one of the Mountain West’s Groza entrants to be so, while connecting on 22-of-26 field goal tries. He was 7-of-10 on tries of 40-plus yards, including a long of 48.
San Jose State’s Matt Mercurio finished 2019 with 97 total points, the most among returning Mountain West athletes this fall, on the strength of 20-of-24 field goals and 37-of-39 extra point attempts. He also had the third-longest streak of made field goals of anyone in the FBS last fall, connecting on 16 straight at one point, and made 5-of-9 tries of 40 or more yards.
Last year’s Lou Groza Award winner was Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship.