In his third season as the starting kicker for Pittsburgh, Conor Lee was honored by the Lou Groza Award and Big East Conference for his performance in the Panthers' 34-24 victory at Syracuse this past Saturday.
"It's always exciting, when you have a team win like this, to see some of your players get recognized in a positive way,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "So, with Conor Lee being recognized ... that's a credit to him.
"When those field goals, when they're not game-winners, it's easy to minimize their importance in the game. But when he kicked those things, three from over 40 yards -- they were strong, well-hit balls -- and they kept us alive. So, Conor deserves the recognition. It's a well-deserved award for him.''
The Lou Groza Award, sponsored by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, named Lee one of three "Lou Groza Stars of the Week,'' while the Big East honored him as its Special Teams Player of the Week.
Lee (Upper St. Clair, Pa. High School and Fork Union Military Academy) recorded a career-high 14 points and tied a 33-year-old school record with four field goals. He was a perfect 6-of-6 on placements for the day, converting field goals from 40, 43, 44 and 25 yards and both extra-point attempts.
The Lou Groza Award, annually presented to the nation's top place-kicker, weekly recognizes three kickers who have made outstanding contributions to their teams. Sharing this week's honor with Lee are UTEP's Jose Martinez and Michigan State's Brett Swenson.
Lee tied the school record for single-game field goals set in 1975 by Carson Long versus William & Mary. Nick Lotz (against Temple, 2001) and David Abdul (Boston College, 2002) also share the mark. Lee additionally extended his own Pitt record to 85 consecutive PATs without a miss. He has never missed an extra-point attempt during his collegiate career.
Lee's 14 points are the most by a Big East kicker in a game this season, and his four field goals are a season-high in the Conference and the second most in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) this year. Lee's career field-goal percentage, 37 of 44 for 84.09 percent, leads the Big East and ranks fifth nationally among active place-kickers.
Lee leads the Big East in kick scoring (7.8 points per game), field goals (1.75 per game), field-goal percentage (tied, 87.5 percent, 7 of 8) and PAT kicking percentage (tied, 100 percent, 10 of 10). He ranks 18th nationally in field goals per game. Lee's only miss was from 48 yards in the opener against Bowling Green. It was his first kick this season.
For more information on Lee, go to www.ConorLee37.com. To find out more about the Lou Groza Award, go to www.lougrozaaward.com.
Pitt (3-1, 1-0 Big East) will face the No. 10 USF Bulls (5-0, 0-0) this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The game will be a national ESPN telecast from Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.
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