TAMPA — USF redshirt junior PK Marvin Kloss, whose school-record 13 consecutive field goals this season included four of 50-plus yards, is among three finalists for the Lou Groza Award.
The award is given annually to the nation's top kicker. Kloss will join FSU's Roberto Aguayo and Texas' Anthony Fera at the College Football Awards show — to be televised live by ESPN — Dec. 12 in Lake Buena Vista.
According to USF, he is the first Bull to be named a finalist for a major football award. "It's a great honor," Kloss said.
"I wouldn't be in this position without my teammates; the big guys blocking up front, the great snapper, David Berdetsky, and a great holder in Mattias Ciabatti. I'd also like to thank the coaches because without them I wouldn't have an opportunity to go for some of those longer field goals. I love that Coach (Willie) Taggart has trust in me."
Kloss, who kicked and played safety at Naples Barron Collier, has converted 14 of 18 field goals. Nine of the 13 in a row he converted during an 11-week stretch were at least 40 yards. He has connected on all 13 of his PAT tries.
Fera and Aguayo each have converted only one field goal of at least 50 yards. Aguayo has five conversions of 40 or more yards, Fera has four.
HARD LESSONS: After being hailed for his debut performance at Houston, Bulls freshman QB Mike White probably had no chance of living up to the sudden hype surrounding him.
But he tried, perhaps a bit too hard, resulting in White's mild regression in USF's last two games, Taggart said.
In the 35-23 loss at Houston, White posted the best passing-yardage debut ever (311 yards, two TDs, one INT) by a Bulls QB. In his past two games, he has completed 55.2 percent of his passes (37-of-67) for 415 yards, one TD and six picks.
"I just recall we lost that ball game (at Houston), but you would've thought we won it, how excited everyone around here (was)," Taggart said. "I think that got to Mike — and understandably so — to where he felt like he had to be the savior in these ball games. When we were down and we needed a play he tried to make plays."
As a result, White has rushed things a bit and failed to progress through his reads. In Saturday's 16-6 loss to SMU, Taggart said White focused too much on trying to get the ball to leading receiver Andre Davis (five catches, 113 yards).
PRIME-TIME FINALE: The American Athletic Conference announced the Bulls' season finale Dec. 7 at Rutgers will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2.
FSU: Maxwell finalist
FSU QB Jameis Winston is one of three finalists for the Maxwell Award, given to college football's player of the year.
Winston, who is being investigated in a sexual assault case, will be competing with Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel and Alabama QB AJ McCarron.
Also, Seminoles S Lamarcus Joyner is up for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation's best defensive back, along with Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard and Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert.
UM: Thin secondary
CORAL GABLES — Miami coach Al Golden confirmed that redshirt freshman CB Nate Dortch and freshman CB Corn Elder will be out for the rest of the season and will both need surgery. Elder said on social media that he has a torn meniscus. Dortch is listed on Miami's injury report as having a "lower extremity" injury.
Golden said he expects it will be a "couple months" recovery and rehabilitation for both, meaning it's uncertain how much Elder's injury will impact his hopes to play basketball this season.
Miami will also be without CB Ladarius Gunter against Pittsburgh on Saturday after the junior strained his neck against Virginia.
AWARD: Sophomore CB Tracy Howard was named an ACC co-defensive back of the week after returning an interception 19 yards for a score in Miami's 45-26 win over Virginia.