COLUMBUS, Ohio: Senior place-kicker Mike Nugent has been selected by his teammates as the most valuable player on the 2004 Ohio State football team.
Nugent led the Buckeyes in scoring this year with 87 points and has moved into third place on the all-time OSU scoring list with 341 points. He owns or shares 19 school records, including the mark for most 50-yard field goals in a season with five this year.
A two-time All-American and a two-time finalist for the Lou Groza Award as the top place-kicker in college football, Nugent is the first Ohio State kicker to win team MVP honors.
Nugent received the award at the annual senior appreciation banquet, which was held Sunday.
During the regular season, Nugent converted all 27 of his extra point attempts and made 20 of 23 field goals tries. His 55-yard field goal as time ran out against Marshall propelled the Buckeyes to a 24-21 victory. The following week, he tied a school record with five field goals at North Carolina State.
Nugent, who has made his last 81 extra point attempts, also handles kickoffs for the Buckeyes. Thirty-four of his 55 kickoffs in 2004 resulted in touchbacks.
OSU coach Jim Tressel discussed Nugent's selection as the MVP.
"Mike Nugent was an overwhelming choice of his teammates as the MVP, and I don't think it was just because he broke a lot of kicking records but for the way he attacks his task and the type of guy he is," Tressel said. "He is willing to do anything. He's out there shagging balls for the receivers. Mike Nugent does anything the team needs. He's pretty good at his on-field job as well and was a runaway choice for MVP."
OSU defensive end Simon Fraser agreed with the selection of Nugent as the MVP.
"That was pretty clear cut after the N.C. State game, don't you think?" Fraser said, laughing. "He put five field goals in one game. He meant a lot. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have beaten Marshall and the N.C. State game would have been tougher. When you look at the games that were close, the deciding factor was field goals.
"We wouldn't be in a bowl game if it wasn't for his contribution and I'm glad he got the opportunity to be recognized."
Other award winners include senior linebacker Thomas Matthews and senior running back Mike DeMaria, who were named co-winners of the Bo Rein Most Inspirational Player Award. The latter also is voted on by the players.
Stan White Jr. received the John W. Galbreath Award for Academic Excellence. White, a junior from Baltimore, is an honor student who is majoring in finance and is expected to apply for a Rhodes scholarship next year.
Linebacker A.J. Hawk was chosen as the Buckeyes' most valuable defensive player. The hard hitting junior led the team in tackles this year with a career-high 136, including 20 against Wisconsin. He paced the Buckeyes in tackles in nine of their 11 games.
The most valuable offensive award went to split end Santonio Holmes, who led the Buckeyes in receptions (50), receiving yardage (722) and touchdown receptions (7). The elusive junior had 10 catches for 224 yards against Marshall, recording the second highest yardage figure in school history.
2004 Ohio State Football Banquet
Record setting speedster Ted Ginn Jr. and linebacker Anthony Schlegel were chosen as the top first-year players. Ginn, a true freshman, finished second in receptions with 19 and tied an NCAA record with four punt returns for touchdowns. He is already OSU's career leader in that category and needs one more to tie the NCAA career record. Schlegel, a transfer from the Air Force Academy, finished the year with 79 tackles, third on the team, and led the team in tackles-for-loss (10.5) and sacks (3.5).
Quarterback Troy Smith and cornerback Ashton Youboty were selected as MVPs of the Michigan game. Smith ran for 145 yards and a touchdown and threw for 241 yards and two scores. His 386 yards in total offense is the third highest in OSU history and his 145 yards on the ground is one yard shy of the school rushing record for a quarterback. Youboty had a momentum changing interception on the OSU 1-yard line that he returned 20 yards, broke up four passes and was in on three tackles in the win over the Wolverines.
A complete list of all 2004 honorees follows:
Most Valuable Player - Senior place-kicker Mike Nugent
Bo Rein Most Inspirational Player - Seniors Thomas Matthews and Mike DeMaria
John W. Galbreath Academic Excellence Award - Junior fullback Stan White
Bill Willis Most Valuable Defensive Player - Junior linebacker A.J. Hawk
Archie Griffin Most Valuable Offensive Player - Junior split end Santonio Holmes
W. W. Hayes Most Valuable Player in the Michigan game - Sophomore quarterback Troy Smith, sophomore cornerback Ashton Youboty
Jim Marshall Warrior Award* - Junior defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock
Jim Parker Offensive Line Award - Junior center Nick Mangold
Rex Kern Offensive Back Award - Sophomore quarterback Troy Smith
Paul Warfield Receiver Award - Junior split end Santonio Holmes
Jack Stephenson Defensive Lineman Award - Senior defensive end Simon Fraser
Arnie Chonko Defensive Back Award - Senior cornerback Dustin Fox
Randy Gradishar Linebacker Award -Junior linebacker Bobby Carpenter
Ike Kelley Special Teams Award - Senior long snapper Kyle Andrews
Buckeye Boosters' First-Year Offensive Award - Freshman receiver and return specialist Ted Ginn Jr.
Buckeye Boosters' First-Year Defensive Award - Junior linebacker Anthony Schlegel
SAE MVP of the Homecoming game (Indiana) - Junior defensive end Mike Kudla