Duval Says Thanks At Ceremony

West Palm Beach, Fla.--A late season slump hurt <B>Damon Duval's</b> chances of winning the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top college place-kicker.

The Auburn junior did receive a trip to Florida for the annual Groza Award Banquet and as one of the three finalists. Tulane junior Seth Marler won the award over Duval and Purdue senior Travis Dorch.

"My congratulations go to Seth on winning the Lou Groza Award," Duval said Tuesday night. "He is a very deserving winner and I'm happy for him.

Dorch of Purdue (left), Marler and Duval (right) pose for photos at the Sheraton in West Palm Beach on Tuesday night.

"I feel it was a great accomplishment to make it as a finalist for the award and it would not have been possible without my Auburn teammates, coaches and fans," Duval said. "Their support has been unbelievable and they make me proud to represent Auburn University. I'm fortunate to have the nation's best deep snapper, Jeremy Wells, and holder, Justin Fetsko, and an offensive line that has provided great protection."

Duval made 16-26 field goals this season, including three game winners, but hit just two of his last seven tries. Marler hit 15-16 field goals. Dorch hit 20-25 field goals.

Duval is third all-time at Auburn in field goals with 39 and he owns the school record holder for consecutive made extra points (83) and has not missed an extra point at Auburn. Duval is also ranked 13th nationally in punting.

Duval will travel to Orlando, Fla., to participate in the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday.

"I would also like to thank the Lou Groza voters and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission," Duval said. "This has been a wonderful experience and the Lou Groza family and everyone surrounded with the award have made me feel like family during my stay." The award is named in honor of the long-time professional football star, Lou "The Toe" Groza of the Cleveland Browns.

The Groza Award was established in 1992 by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. The award is presented each December to the nation's top Division I college place-kicker as determined by a national voting panel of approximately 300 Division I head coaches sportswriters and sportscasters from across the country, conference officials, previous winners and various NFL kickers.

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