STORRS, Conn. (August 12, 2005) - University of Connecticut junior Matt Nuzie (Trumbull, Conn.) was one of 30 student-athletes named on Friday morning to the official Watch List for the 2005 Lou Groza Award, annually presented to the nations best collegiate place kicker by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
A semifinalist for the 2004 Lou Groza Award, Nuzie was named All-BIG EAST a year ago after a sophomore season that saw him lead the conference in field goals, ranking eighth in the nation. Nuzie hit on 20 of his 28 attempts last fall with a long of 51, coming on Nov. 13 at Georgia Tech. He set UConn records in 2004 for most field goals with his 20 and most consecutive field goals made with a streak of 10 straight. His 37 extra points were the fifth most for a Husky in a single season and he stands third in UConn history with 177 career points scored. Nuzie was named the BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Week after hitting all three of his field goals in UConns 29-17 win over eventual conference champion Pittsburgh on Sept. 30, including a crucial 49-yard boot as time expired in the first half. Nuzie also capped his season in style, tying the UConn single-game record by making four field goals in the teams Motor City Bowl win over Toledo.
A list of 20 semifinalists will be announced on October 31 and three finalists will be named on November 14. Finalists will be honored at the 13th Annual Lou Groza Award Banquet on Tuesday December 6th at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott. The voters for the Lou Groza Award are comprised of all Division I head coaches, sports writers and sportscasters from across the country, conference officials, various NFL kickers and all previous Lou Groza Award finalists. Last year the award was given to Mike Nugent of Ohio State.
Nuzie is one of three BIG EAST kickers on the watch list, joining Arthur Carmody of Louisville and Josh Cummings of Pittsburgh.
The award, now in its 14th year, 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.
Nuzie is actually the second Husky ever to be recognized by the organization. Sophomore Tony Ciaravino (Boca Raton, Fla.) received the 2003 high school version of the Lou Groza Award, annually given to the top scholastic place kicker in Palm Beach County.