Florida K Sturgis, P Christy miss out on awards

The Florida Gators’ special teams unit was arguably the nation’s best in 2012, which makes it no surprise that its two primary specialists were up for big honors on Thursday evening at the 2012 Home Depot College Football Awards held in Orlando, FL.

Despite redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis and sophomore punter Kyle Christy being named as finalists for the 2012 Lou Groza Award and 2012 Ray Guy Award, respectively, neither brought home the honor this year.

Tulane’s Cairo Santos beat out Sturgis for the Lou Groza Award after becoming just the second player in NCAA history to not miss a field goal over the course of a season (21-of-21). Sturgis finished 23-of-27 (three of his four misses were blocked) with three field goals in the 50-yard range. Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins, the third finalist, was 24-of-28 with five 50+ yarders.

Judd Davis (1993) remains the only Florida player in the 21-year history of the Lou Groza Award to bring it home to Gainesville, FL.

Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Allen won his second-straight Ray Guy Award, becoming the first-ever back-to-back winner, after averaging 48.0 yards per attempt with a long of 85 yards and besting his 2011 numbers by 1.9 yards and 13 yards, respectively. Christy averaged 46.1 yards with a long of 62 yards and fellow finalist Scott Kovanda of Ball State averaged just 40.2 yards with a long of 56 yards.

Chas Henry (2010) is the only Gators punter to win the Ray Guy Award, which has been handed out for the last 13 years.

Sturgis and Christy were both named unanimous first team All-SEC players by league coaches and Associated Press voters this week.

Sturgis added 2012 SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year honors on Wednesday and also made team history this year. He set the school record for made field goals in a career with 69, passing Jeff Chandler’s 67, and tied Bobby Raymond for the school’s single-season made field goal record (23).

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Muschamp named 2012 SEC Coach of the Year, Sturgis SEC Special Teams Player of the Year

In just his second season leading the Florida Gators, head coach Will Muschamp has led the team to an astounding 11-1 regular season record and added the honor of being named 2012 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by his peers.

Muschamp, splitting the award with Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin (who also picked up the honor from the Associated Press), led Florida to a five-game improvement from a year ago when the Gators finished the regular season 6-6. According to the school, that is the biggest improvement for the team in 32 years.

Florida completed the 2012 campaign with a 4-1 record against the top 12 teams in the final BCS standings and a 7-1 mark in conference play with its defense leading the way. The Gators finished the season ranked first in pass efficiency defense, third in scoring defense, fifth in total defense and sixth in rushing defense.

Muschamp is just the third football coach in school history to be named SEC Coach of the Year and the first in 16 years. He joins Ray Graves (coaches – 1960) and Steve Spurrier (coaches – 1991, 1994-96; AP – 1995-96) in that exclusive club.

Capping off his redshirt senior season with a big-time honor, Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis was also named 2012 SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.

Like Muschamp, Sturgis shared the award and is being honored alongside South Carolina return specialist Ace Sanders.

He was 23-of-27 on field goals in 2012 with three of his four misses caused by blocks due to protection issues at the line of scrimmage.

Sturgis is the first Gators player to win the award since Brandon James (2008) and has a chance to add to the honor as he is a finalist for the 2012 Lou Groza Award, which will be announced on Thursday.

Photo Credits: The Gainesville Sun, St. Petersburg Times

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