Kirk Yliniemi Named Semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award

Nov. 5, 2003

Corvallis, Ore. - Oregon State University senior place-kicker Kirk Yliniemi (Ill-uh-knee-me) has been selected one of 20 finalists for the 12th annual Lou Groza Award. The award, given to the top Division I kicker in the nation, is presented by the FedEx Orange Bowl.

Yliniemi has made 13 of 15 field goals and 30 of 31 point after touchdown attempts this season. His 69 points rank fourth in the Pac-10 Conference. Yliniemi, a graduate of Central High School in Monmouth, Ore., has made all five of his attempts for his career in the 50-yard plus category, including a career-long 54-yard boot last week vs. Arizona.

The three finalists for the award will be announced Nov. 17. The award will be officially presented Tues., Dec. 9 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Voters for the award include Division I head coaches, sports journalists, conference representatives, professional kickers, and previous Groza Award finalists.

Yliniemi is joined on the list by fellow Pac-10 kickers Ryan Killeen of USC and Drew Dunning of Washington State. The other semifinalists are Steve Azar of Northern Illinois, Xavier Beitia of Florida State, Nick Browne of TCU, Trey DiCarlo of Oklahoma, Connor Hughes of Virginia, Ben Jones of Purdue, Nate Kaeding of Iowa, Matt Leach of Florida, J.C. Mejia of San Diego State, Jonathan Nichols of Mississippi, Nick Novak of Maryland, Matt Payne of BYU, Jon Peattie of Miami, Dillon Pieffer of UNLV, David Rayner of Michigan State, Nate Smith of Louisville, and Andrew Wellock of Eastern Michigan.

The Award is named after the NFL Hall of Fame member Lou Groza. Groza played 21 seasons in NFL and was the league's Player of the Year in 1954.

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