Nov 1, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Maryland Terrapins place kicker Brad Craddock (15) kicks an extra point against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Maryland defeated Penn State 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Craddock has enjoyed one of the most impressive seasons that a kicker can have.
With a mind-blowing 17-for-17 mark with just one regular season game to go, Craddock was named as a finalist for the Lou Groza Award on Tuesday, which is given to the top kicker in college football. Along with Craddock, Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo and West Virginia’s Josh Lambert were the other two finalists for the award.
But just what are the chances that the Maryland kicker takes home the award when it is announced on Dec. 9?
First of all, Craddock hasn’t missed a field goal since Nov. 9 of the 2013 season against Syracuse where he missed a 42-yard attempt. The Austrailan sensation has connected on his last 23 attempts dating back to that game. In seven of the games during this stretch, Craddock has converted multiple field goals into points for the Terps.
The Australian kicker has an edge on Aguayo and Lambert in terms of lengthy field goals. Craddock has made a field goal from 57 yards, which trumps the other two finalists. While he hasn’t had a tremendously high number of made field goals,
In several games, Craddock was the difference between Maryland coming away with a win and losing a close battle. In recent weeks, the Terps kicker has come up huge in big games that his team needed to win. In the Penn State game, Craddock hit a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left, which eventually gave Maryland a victory over their newest rivals. Then just last Saturday against Michigan. he was successful on three field goal attempts, and the Terps were able to complete the comeback in a 23-16 win in Ann Arbor.
It can definitely be argued that Craddock has been Maryland’s MVP this season. Just think of where the Terps would be without him. How many of their wins wouldn’t have been possible with the leg of number 15?
Now what does Craddock have that may hold him back from winning the Lou Groza Award?
It’s really simple and something that he really has no control over. It comes down to his attempts.
The Austrailian star only has 17 attempts, while Aguayo and Lambert each have attempted at least 23 field goals. Aguayo is currently 21-of-23 with the most recent one coming on a game-winning kick against Boston College last Saturday. On the other hand, Lambert has made the most field goals with 24 successful attempts. However, Lambert also has eight misses on the year. With Aguayo having only two misses and Craddock with none, that is a factor that could weigh against the Mountaineers kicker. Lambert has come up large in big games as the Terps know all too well. The Texas native connected on a 47-yard try in the final seconds to defeat Maryland back in the third week of the season.
When you stack all the statistics of each kicker against one another, it looks like Aguayo and Craddock are the two that stand out. Aguayo has been responsible for several of Florida State’s wins just as Craddock has for Maryland. If Craddock is able to add a few more field goals and remain perfect on Saturday against Rutgers, he just may be able to take home the award.