With Florida State’s victory over Auburn Monday night in the BCS Championship Game it marked an end to the 2013 college football season.
Now that the dust has settled and the final results are complete, a check of the final NCAA statistics reveals that Arizona State University placekicker Zane Gonzalez finished a brilliant freshman campaign by leading the nation with 25 field goals made.
That’s right, Sun Devil fans!
Gonzalez, who made 25 of 30 field goals for an 83.3-percent success rate, kicked one more field goal than Oklahoma’s Mike Hunnicutt (24) to become the nation’s leader in that category. In fact, only 15 kickers nationwide booted 20 or more field goals in 2013 and Gonzalez and Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo were the nation’s only freshmen in that select group to accomplish the feat.
And that wasn’t the only superlative for the nation’s top freshman kicker in 2013. With three field goals in the National University Holiday Bowl game Gonzalez tied the NCAA freshman record of 25 that was set by UCLA’s Kai Forbath in 2007 (25-30). Gonzalez finished 2013 with an identical 25 of 30 field goals made.
The Deer Park, Texas product finished his first season ranked No. 5 nationally and No. 1 in the Pac-12 Conference in field goals per game at 1.8. He was the only freshman in the top 18 nationally in that stat. Gonzalez was No. 29 nationally in field goal percentage at 83.3-percent.
He scored 138 points in 2013, which ranked him No. 10 nationally in scoring among all position players at 9.9 points per game. ASU’s own Marion Grice ranked No. 5 in the nation in this category at 10.9 points per game. In addition, Gonzalez was No. 54 nationally among all position players in points responsible for.
Gonzalez was the nation’s hottest kicker for the majority of the season as he hit 18 straight field goals between the USC game on Sept. 28 before missing one in the Pac-12 Championship game against Stanford on Dec. 7.
Gonzalez, who earned freshman second-team All-America honors by College Football News for his efforts, is one of four frosh to earn national honors in the two years that Coach Todd Graham has been at ASU. Additionally, Gonzalez was selected by the league’s coaches as the first-team All-Pac-12 placekicker and was named as a semi-finalist for the Lou Groza Award, presented annually to the nation’s top kicker. He was twice named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week, for the Washington and Arizona games.
Want more Gonzalez superlatives?
Gonzalez made good on 63 of his 65 extra point attempts and combined with his 25 field goals gave him 138 points scored in his first season. He led the Pac-12 Conference in points scored by a kicker with 138, which was a whopping 31 points ahead of No. 2 Travis Coons of Washington (107). His 63 extra points made also led all kickers in the Pac-12 Conference. He made seven more field goals (25 total) than the No. 2 kicker in the league (18 by Stanford’s Jordan Williamson).
A member of the prestigious Barrett Honors College at ASU, Gonzalez ranked No. 3 in scoring in the Pac-12 Conference, behind two of the league’s top running backs in No. 1 Marion Grice of ASU (10.9 ppg) and No. 2 Kadeem Carey of Arizona (10.0 ppg). In fact, Gonzalez was the only kicker among the top five in that category. Behind him at No. 4 was Washington running back Bishop Sankey (9.7 ppg) and at No. 5 was Stanford’s Tyler Gaffney (9.4 ppg).
Gonzalez went a long way in re-writing the ASU record book as well. His 138 points in a single-season ranks No. 1 in Sun Devil annals, breaking the previous record of 136 set by the late Wilford “Whizzer” White in 1950. Also, his 138 points kicking ranks him No. 1 in points by kicking in a single season, breaking the previous record of 118 set by both Thomas Weber (2007) and Mike Barth (2002).
With the superb freshman season behind him and an impressive resume already being written, Gonzalez is certain to tee up his sophomore season as one of the nation’s leading kickers and a top favorite for the Lou Groza Award.