Monday was a big day for Western Kentucky kicker Brayden Narveson, who was voted Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week while also earning a spot as a 2020 Lou Groza Award Semifinalist.
Narveson hit all three of his field goal attempts (33, 46 and 49 yards) and added four extra points in the Hilltoppers’ 37-19 victory at Charlotte on Sunday. It was a career-high 13 points scored, as he became the first WKU kicker to reach that mark since Skyler Simcox had 16 points scored in the 2016 C-USA Championship Game versus Louisiana Tech.
It was the second time this season Narveson earned a C-USA weekly award, as he was previously honored following his Oct. 3 performance at Middle Tennessee where he made 2-of-2 field goals (47 and 53 yards) with two extra points in the Hilltoppers’ 20-17 victory. The 53-yarder was the third-longest all-time in program history.
Including his previous award in 2020, this marks only the sixth time in the past 10 seasons that a WKU kicker has earned a league’s weekly award. Cory Munson was also twice voted C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week in 2019.
Narveson is one of 20 kickers to be a Lou Groza Award semifinalist, becoming the first Hilltopper since Garrett Schwettman in 2015. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native is a stellar 13-of-14 on field goal tries this season and 24-of-24 on extra-point attempts.
Among FBS kickers who have attempted 10-plus field goal tries this season, Narveson is tied for third with a 92.9% connection rate. Only BYU’s John Oldroyd (11-of-11) and Alabama’s Will Reichard (10-of-10) have been perfect, while Nevada’s Brandon Talton has also made 13-of-14 field goals.
Schwettman’s 93.8% mark (15-of-16) in 2015 is the all-time single-season program record. Chris Pino currently stands second in the WKU record books with a 92.3% mark (12-of-13) in 1993.
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission named the semifinalists for the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, which is presented by the Orange Bowl. Given the unique nature of this college football season, the committee considered only FBS kickers who have played in at least six games and attempted at least 10 field goals through the games of Week 14.
From the 20 semifinalists, a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, sports information directors, media members, former Lou Groza Award finalists and current NFL kickers will vote to select three finalists. Those finalists will be announced Dec. 22.