TAMPA — Since missing his first career field goal attempt in the University of South Florida’s season opener Aug. 31, Marvin Kloss has been perfect.
That perfection landed Kloss recognition as one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the nation’s best placekicker.
Kloss’ numbers speak for themselves. He leads the country with nine field goals longer than 40 yards, is a perfect 4-for-4 from 50 yards or longer, has been named American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week three times and has made a school-record 13 consecutive field goals since that opening-night miss. He leads the Bulls in scoring with 51 points and is 12-for-12 on extra points.
“It’s definitely a privilege to be in the (Groza Award semifinalist group) with some of those guys,” Kloss said. “I owe a lot of it to the big guys up front blocking for me that haven’t allowed any penetration all year. (Long snapper David) Burdetsky has done a good job snapping and (holder Mattias) Ciabatti has done a great job holding, so it’s not just me.”
Kloss, a junior, waited for two years behind Maikon Bonani to take over place-kicking duties. The wait has been worth it for Kloss, who said the main thing Bonani taught him was how to mentally and physically prepare for each game.
USF coach Willie Taggart said he’s never had a kicker as reliable as Kloss at any point in his career.
“It’s great to have a kicker like that, a guy that we can count on and a guy that’s confident,” Taggart said. “It’s where we want to get our entire football team, to be confident every time we step on the football field we’re going to get our job done. That’s what we see out of Marvin when he goes out there.”
SHAW’S RETURN: USF leading rusher Marcus Shaw (hamstring) found his return to the field difficult (18 carries, 34 yards) last week in a loss to Houston. Shaw said he was only at 90 percent and only learned shortly before kickoff he would be starting. He expects to be fully healthy by the time the Bulls next take the field, Nov. 16 against Memphis.