The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has released the three national finalists for the 2018 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, and Wyoming junior Cooper Rothe is one of those three finalists. Rothe becomes the first Wyoming Cowboy to be named a finalist for the Groza Award.
The other finalists are: Andre Szmyt of Syracuse and Cole Tracy of LSU. A panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists and current NFL kickers selected the three finalists.
This year, fans can play a part in naming the winner of the Lou Groza Award. Fans may visit www.lougrozaaward.com/18finalists and cast a vote for their favorite of the three finalists selected by the national panel of voters. The finalist who receives the greatest total of fan votes will be given one vote on the final ballot. One vote can make a difference in the final outcome so fans are encouraged to participate.
The finalists will be honored at the 27th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Banquet on Monday, Dec. 3 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach Fla. The same panel then selects the winner, who will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 6.
This year’s three finalists will be highlighted on ESPNU during the Home Depot College Football Awards Nomination Special airing Tue., Nov. 20 at 12:30 p.m., M.T. The winner of the 2018 Lou Groza Award will be revealed on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show airing live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Ga., on Thu., Dec. 6 at 5 p.m., M.T.
The Award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” 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. Although an All-Pro offensive lineman, as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.
Rothe ranks No. 2 in the nation in field-goal percentage, making 93.8 percent (15 of 16) of his field goal attempts this season. He owned the nation’s longest streak of consecutive field goals made at 18, dating back to the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl where he successfully converted all three field goals he attempted. Rothe missed a 43-yard attempt vs. San Jose State on Nov. 3 for his only miss of he season. Oddly enough, the last time Rothe had missed a field goal prior to that was a 49-yarder in his final attempt at San Jose State in the last regular-season game of the 2017 season. Over the past two seasons, Rothe has made 30 of 34 field goal attempts (88.2 percent). He is also a perfect 24 of 24 in point-after-touchdown attempts this season to tie for No. 1 in the nation in that category.
Earlier this month, Rothe was named one of 20 semifinalists for the Groza Award, which was the first time he had received that honor. The junior from Longmont, Colo., has started every game from the first game of his freshman season to now -- 38 consecutive starts.