Kloss first USF finalist for NCAA award
For the 2-8 USF football team, there hasn’t been much to brag about this season aside from Lou Groza Award finalist and USF junior place-kicker Marvin Kloss, who became the first college football award finalist in program history Monday.
Even in the Bulls’ two wins, Kloss scored every offensive point and led the Bulls to victory.
Kloss has set three USF records this year including making 13 consecutive field goals while leading college football with nine field goals of 40-plus yards and four from 50-plus yards.
Kloss’ consistency is one thing USF coach Willie Taggart has been able to count on this season.
“He’s put a smile on my face throughout the year,” he said. “He’s done a lot for this program. To be known for something, we talked about that as a team — let people know your name by how you play. He lets folks in the entire nation know his name.”
Come Dec. 12 at the Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN, more people will know Kloss’ name. But within the Bulls’ squad, Kloss’ new nickname is “Money,” coined by Taggart.
“I turn around every time I hear ‘Money’ now,” Kloss said. “I look left and right.”
Though Kloss was money on 13 straight kicks, he’s missed three of his last four attempts. Kloss said it shouldn’t hurt him in the voting because his only misses were long field goal attempts.
He missed a 49- and 55-yarder Nov. 16 against Memphis and slipped and fell on a miss from 51 yards last Saturday against SMU, making for a surprise when he got the news of his nomination.
“I didn’t think I’d be one of the three,” he said. “I’ve been a bit unlucky the last couple games, but I’ll take it and run with it. First thing I did was call my parents, and my mom cried on the phone. She said she’s been praying for this the whole time. It’s an honor to represent USF at such a big-time banquet.”
When revamping a struggling program, Taggart said you have to find things to build on, and Kloss’ performance as a “competitive” kicker is one of those things.
“Every time he goes out to kick, guys get fired up,” he said. “Early in the year he kicked off the ball where he shouldn’t have, and the returner got the ball. He was flying down the field cause he knew he’d hear about the mistake on the sidelines.”
Then Kloss made the tackle.
“He got over to the sidelines, and I said ‘great tackle,’” Taggart said.
Kloss and the Bulls face the Knights 8 p.m. Friday.