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Miami (OH) kicker Graham Nicholson becomes first MAC player to win Lou Groza Award

Nicholson ranks first among FBS kickers in field goal percentage with at least 15 attempts this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 30 Miami (Ohio) at Kent State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Miami (OH) kicker Graham Nicholson became the first-ever MAC kicker to win the Lou Groza Award on Friday night.

Nicholson ranks first in the FBS in field goal percentage among kickers with at least 15 field goal attempts at 96.3 percent. The RedHawks’ star converted 26-of-27 field goals in 2023, sinking every attempt in the regular season with a lone miss in the MAC Championship Game. His RedHawks won the MAC title over Toledo in an afternoon where he converted 3-of-4 attempts including 2-of-3 between 40-49 yards.

Nicholson tied the FBS record for most consecutive kicks made, tying former Washington kicker Chuck Nelson who made 25-straight field goals in the 1982 season.

The Miami (OH) kicker sunk 35-of-36 extra points this year, scoring a total of 113 points prior to the RedHawks’ upcoming Cure Bowl vs. Appalachian State. Prior to bowl season, Nicholson tied the program record for most field goals made in a single year. He also ranks first in program history among kickers in points scored at 274 and field goals made at 59.

He becomes the first MAC player to win the award which recognizes the best kicker in the country. Nicholson won the award over finalists including Fresno State kicker Jose Pizano and Alabama kicker Will Reichard.

The Cincinnati native sunk all 15 attempts under 40 yards this year and converted 9-of-10 field goals from 40-49 yards. He connected on a season-long 52-yarder in a 27-0 victory over Bowling Green in early October.

Nicholson announced his return for the 2024 season this week, joining other RedHawks such as starting quarterback Brett Gabbert and MAC Defensive Player of the Year Matt Salopek among the key cogs running it back from the 2023 MAC championship squad.