PROVO, Utah -- For the fifth time in the past nine weeks, BYU senior Matt Payne has been named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week. In addition, Payne was today selected as one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, honoring the nation's top kicker. Payne broke an NCAA record with his 14th straight field goal from 40-49 yards, helping the Cougars to a 49-16 victory over San Diego State.
After being named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation's top punter, as well as a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, Payne also showed why he is also deserving of the Lou Groza Award, which honors the nation's top kicker. Payne, now a five-time MWC Player-of-the-Week recipient, set an NCAA record on Saturday, connecting on his 13th straight field goal attempt from 40-49 yards -- a streak that dates back to the 2002 season. Payne's 43-yard field goal with 3:51 left in the second quarter gave the Cougars a 10-3 advantage and started a streak of 33 straight unanswered points that eventually led to a 49-16 BYU victory over San Diego State.
Payne's field goal broke John Carney's (Notre Dame) 19-year-old record of 12 straight field goals from 40-49 yards, set in 1984-85. Payne extended the record to 14 with a 42-yard field goal with 2:47 remaining in the third quarter to give the Cougars a 36-3 lead over the Aztecs. On the day, Payne scored 13 of the Cougars' 49 points, moving to within 27 points of breaking the BYU career scoring record.
Against SDSU, Payne was also credited with four punts for 187 yards, averaging 46.8 yards per punt. Of his four punts, two were downed inside the 20-yard line, while the other two were returned for a combined total of only 12 yards. On the day, Payne produced a net punting average of 43.8 yards per punt. Payne was also credited with another solo tackle on punt coverage, giving the linebacker-like punter eight tackles on the season.
In one of the most exciting plays of the day, Payne lined up for a career-long 59-yard field goal attempt. Behind the Cougars' second-team offensive line, Payne's attempt was blocked; however, he recovered the blocked field goal and ran for 24 yards, picking up the first down and preserving the Cougars' eventual scoring drive. Eight plays later, BYU scored on a two-yard touchdown run, increasing the BYU lead to 49-9 with 4:19 remaining in the game.
One of only seven players in the country who handles punting, field goals, point-after attempts and kickoffs, Payne ranks among the nation's leaders averaging 45.3 yard per punt. He ranks third nationally in net punting, averaging nearly 41.4 yards per punt.
Payne, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior has been credited with 21 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, including 11 punts downed inside the 10-yard line. In the Cougars' season opening victory over Notre Dame, Payne was credited with four punts that were downed inside the 10-yard line. Equally impressive, Payne has recorded 18 punts of 50 yards or longer, including a career-long 79-yarder against top-ranked USC. At the time, the punt was listed as the longest in the country.
Written by BYU Athletic Communications