Twenty players are still eligible for the award given to the top kicker in college football, including Washington State’s Blake Mazza, who Thursday was named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award.
Mazza, who was recently named to The Athletic’s midseason All-American second team, hasn’t missed a field goal this season, connecting on all 13 of his attempts through eight games. Mazza and Washington’s Peyton Henry, another Lou Groza semifinalist who’s gone 15 of 15 this season, are the only perfect kickers remaining in the Pac-12 Conference.
Former WSU kicker Erik Powell earned Lou Groza semifinalist honors during his senior season in 2017.
A redshirt sophomore from Plano, Texas, Mazza entered the week tied for seventh nationally in PATs (41 for 41) and tied for 11th in points scored (80). His 80 points also rank second best in the conference, just behind Henry’s 82.
“He’s kicking better,” Leach said of Mazza before WSU’s game at Arizona State. “I think he’s got more range, a little more precise.”
Mazza is tied for second in the country with two kicks of 50 yards or more, having made a 50-yarder in the season opener against New Mexico State and a career-long 51-yarder in a poor-weather game at Utah.
As a redshirt freshman, Mazza was third in the Pac-12 in points and set a single-season record with 60 made extra points – something he could have a chance to surpass this season.
A panel of more than 100 FBS coaches, sports information directors, media members, former Groza finalists and current NFL kickers will vote on three finalists, who will be announced on Nov. 25. The same panel will select the winner, who will be announced on Dec. 12 at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
Subscribe to the Cougs newsletter
Get the latest Cougs headlines delivered to your inbox as they happen.