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November 2, 2006MADISON, Wis. - Taylor Mehlhaff, junior placekicker for the Wisconsin football team, has been named a semifinalist for the 2006 Lou Groza Award, which will be presented to the nation's top kicker.
The three finalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced on Monday, Nov. 20, and will be honored at the 15th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Banquet on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott. The 2006 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award winner will be announced on Thursday, December 7 during the ESPN Home Depot College Football Award Show in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Mehlhaff, the reigning Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after connecting on three field goals in last week's win over Illinois, has made 11 of 13 field goal attempts this season, including his last seven straight. He leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage (84.6) and is tied for the league kick-scoring lead (7.7 ppg). In addition, Wisconsin leads the Big Ten with 33 touchbacks.
Mehlhaff, a native of Aberdeen, S.D., hit a career-high 51-yard field goal at Purdue earlier this season. He has made all 36 point-after attempts this season, as well.
Wisconsin's last Lou Groza Award semifinalist was Vitaly Pisetsky, who went on to be a finalist in 1999.
The Lou Groza Award, now in its 15th 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.