Among the many awesome storylines for the Syracuse Orange football team this season has been the ascension of kicker Andre Szmyt.
The redshirt freshman started the year as a walk-on, but was given a scholarship by October after hitting 16 of 17 field goals through the Pitt game, including a few kicks of longer than 50 yards. Just a couple months later, he’s now the Lou Groza Award winner as the nation’s best placekicker.
Szmyt finished the regular season with 28 field goals made in 32 tries, plus 57 extra points and 141 total points scored on the year. Those numbers set a bunch of Syracuse and ACC records. He’s only three shy of the FBS single-season mark for field goals made.
Other finalists for the award, which was given out on Thursday night, included LSU’s Cole Tracy and Wyoming’s Cooper Rothe.
Szmyt is the first Syracuse player to win the award since its inception in 1992. It’s the sixth time an ACC player has won the honor, with the most recent being Florida State’s Robert Aguayo in 2013.
Congrats to Andre, who’s arguably the most improbable part of this entire entertaining season. We’ve been claiming Szmyt Happens all year, and now Szmyt HAPPENED. Given that he’s only a redshirt freshman, there could be several more of these in his future... though hopefully we’re also settling for field goals a little bit less, too.