Nicholson wins prestigious Lou Groza Award
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – During Friday night's live Home Depot College Football Awards, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced Miami University junior Graham Nicholson as the winner of the 2023 Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award. Nicholson is the first RedHawk to capture a national award in program history.
Nicholson finished the season 26-for-27 on field goals and missed one extra point all season long. With a 23-for-23 regular season, Nicholson set a new FBS record for the most field goals in a perfect regular season, topping 2012 Lou Groza Award winner Cairo Santos' mark of 21.
With a pair of field goals to start the MAC Championship Game, Nicholson made 25 consecutive field goals, matching the all-time FBS record for the longest streak in one season. Overall, his 26 field goals tied for the second-most in FBS while his 96.3% accuracy was the highest by any kicker with even 15 attempts on the year.
He also set the bar for . . .
. . . consistency by making a field goal in every game this season. The junior kicked multiple field goals in nine games, including a trio of 3-for-3 performances, helping the RedHawks to an 11-2 season, Miami's best record since 2003.
Over the last ten seasons, he's just the second MAC kicker to finish a season with better than 90% accuracy. His 19 field goals from at least 30 yards out are third in the nation, with 10 from at least 40 yards out tying for third as well.
While his season-long came from 52 yards away versus Bowling Green, his most important kick may actually have been the shortest this season. His 20-yarder on the road in Cincinnati tied things late, allowing the RedHawks to knock off their oldest rival 31-24 in overtime, Miami's first win over the Bearcats since 2005.
Nicholson beat out UNLV senior Jose Pizano and Alabama graduate Will Reichard for the award.
The national panel of Lou Groza Award voters is comprised of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers. Since the first Lou Groza Award was handed out in 1992, 30 finalists, including 17 winners, have gone on to appear in the NFL, earning 13 trips to the Pro Bowl and taking home seven Super Bowls.
Editor-Publisher Mike Smith
Mike grew up in Mid-American Conference football and basketball territory and returned there after military service. He has been covering MAC football and men's basketball for much of the last several decades.