By Edgar Thompson | Orlando Sentinel
4:46 PM EST, November 20, 2012
The Gators special teams have bailed No. 4 Florida out of tight spots many times this season.
A big reason is Florida's kicking game has been unmatched.
Placekicker Caleb Sturgis and punter Kyle Christy are among three finalists for the most prestigious awards at their positions.
Sturgis, a senior from St. Augustine, is up for the Lou Groza Award for the second consecutive year, while Christy, a sophomore from Indiana, is a finalist for the Ray Guy Award. No other schools has a finalist for each award.
Winners will be announced on Dec. 6 at The Home Depot College Football Awards, live in Orlando.
Sturgis has connected on 20 of 24 field goals, leaving him one field goal shy of the school career record (67, Jeff Chandler, 1997-2001) and three shy of the season record (23, Bobby Raymond, 1984). Sturgis had 22 field goals in 2009 and 2011.
But Stugis might come up short on the Groza Award. Tulane's Carlos Santos has not missed in 20 attempts, including a long of 57 yards.Meanwhile, Florida State senior Dustin Hopkins, the other Groza finalist, became the new FBS all-time scoring leader for kickers last week at Maryland. He currently has 448 career points. Sitting on 85 field goals, he is one shy of tying the all-time career record.
Christy might have an even stronger case for the Guy Award based on a number of memorable moments during his breakout season.
Against South Carolina on Oct. 20, Christy set a Gators' single-game record with a 54.3 punt average on seven tries, highlighted by a 62-yard blast.
In a 14-6 win against LSU, Christy's punts pinned Tigers inside the 10-yard line three times.
But like Sturgis, Christy has some stiff competition for the award. He would have to beat out 2011 winner Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech.
Christy is fourth in the nation in punting average and Florida is third in net punting (41.58 yards per punt). But Allen averages a nation-leading 48.12 yards per punt and Louisiana Tech is No. 1 in net punting (43.15 yards per kick).
Ball State's Scott Kovanda is the other finalist for the Guy Award. Kovanda serves as a team captain and has punted 38 times this season, pinning opponents inside the 20-yard line 23 times.
Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel