Aug. 12, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois senior kicker Mike Salerno (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg HS) has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2009 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, which annually recognizes the top kicker on NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams. The preseason watch list announced Wednesday is determined based on 2008 statistics and preseason honors.
As a junior in 2008, his first season at Northern Illinois after transferring from Winona State, Salerno made 18-of-24 field goals and all 34 of his extra point attempts to lead NIU in scoring with 88 points. He tied for 22nd nationally with 1.38 field goals per game and made at least one field goal in nine of the Huskies' 13 contests. His field goals included a school-record tying 52-yard blast versus Bowling Green, a game-winning 30-yard field goal with 12 seconds in the same game, and a 25-yard effort with 19 seconds on the clock to send the Central Michigan game to overtime.
Salerno also excelled on kickoffs as he led the MAC with 16 touchbacks and averaged nearly 65 yards per kickoff, and perfectly executed several onside kicks, which the Huskies recovered. He was named to the second unit of the All-Mid-American Conference squad, as voted by league coaches, and was honored as NIU's special teams MVP.
Salerno is one of just 30 players nationally named to the Watch List and joins Toledo's Alex Steigerwald as one of just two Mid-American Conference honorees.
The Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award is presented by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and determined by a voting panel that includes head coaches, sports media, conference representatives, professional kickers and previous winners. All FBS kickers are eligible for consideration for the award.
Salerno and the Huskies "kick off" the 2009 season on Saturday, Sept. 5 at Wisconsin. The 6 p.m. game will be televised by the Big Ten Network. NIU's home opener is Saturday, Sept. 12 versus Western Illinois. Tickets to that contest and to the entire Huskies' home season are on sale now, on-line at www.niuhuskies.com. Call 815-752-6800 to order tickets or for more information.
-- NIU --
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