Athletics

Ficken earns fourth career Big Ten specialist of the week honor

Sam Ficken was selected the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this season. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State senior placekicker Sam Ficken (Valparaiso, Indiana) has been honored by the Big Ten Conference for his perfect field goal performance in Penn State’s contest with Maryland on Nov. 1.

Ficken was selected the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this season and the fourth time in his career. His four career selections are tied for fifth place in Big Ten annals, with Nebraska’s Brett Maher (2011-12) the most recent kicker to earn at least four career weekly honors.

Ficken also was selected one of the three Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award “Stars of the Week” for the second time this season. The Groza Award also recognized Ficken following the season opener against UCF, when he made the game-winning field goal on the final play of the game to cap a 4 of 4 day on field goals.

A co-captain, Ficken connected on all four of his field goal attempts in the 20-19 setback to the Terrapins to tie his career-high, which he set in the season opening win over UCF, the last time he was honored by the Big Ten. Ficken became the first Penn State kicker since at least 1982 to make three field goals of 45 yards or longer in a game when he connected on 46, 47 and 48-yard attempts vs. Maryland, in addition to a 25-yard attempt. He is the first Penn State placekicker to make three 40-plus yard field goals in a game since Collin Wagner had three against Youngstown State in 2011 (44, 48 and 49 yards).

Ficken’s 48-yarder vs. Maryland was the second-longest of his career and gave coach James Franklin’s Nittany Lions a 19-17 lead with 6:52 to play in the game. He made a 47-yard attempt on Penn State’s first possession, tied for the third longest of his career, and made a 46-yard field goal in the second quarter, tied for the fifth longest of his career.

Ficken is No. 3 in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in field goals made per game (17, 2.13 pg) and No. 10 in FG accuracy at 89.5 percent (17 of 19). He leads the Big Ten in field goals made, is No. 2 in field goal accuracy, No. 3 in kick scoring (8.5 ppg, 68 points) and No. 6 in conference overall scoring.

Ficken is leading the Nittany Lions in scoring for a third consecutive year, having scored 68 points on 17 of 19 field goals and 17 of 17 PAT attempts. Ficken is averaging 61.2 yards on his 41 kickoffs, with 18 touchbacks.

The four field goals by Ficken against the Terps give him 47 in his career, moving him into a tie for third place in Penn State annals with Travis Forney. He passed Brett Conway (45) on the list on Saturday and Craig Fayak is second with 50 career field goals made.

Ficken's 13 points vs. Maryland moved him into sixth place on the Penn State career scoring list with 239 points. He passed Curtis Enis (230 points) and Robbie Gould (232) on Saturday. Running back Lydell Mitchell is in fifth place with 246 career points and Forney is fourth with 258 points.

The former Valparaiso High School standout previously earned the Big Ten honor after the season opening win over UCF, last year’s season opening win over Syracuse in MetLife Stadium and also after the 2012 Senior Day win over Wisconsin, when he hit the game-winning field goal in overtime.

Ficken owns a 3.59 grade-point average in finance and is on schedule to graduate in December in three and a half years. He was nominated for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Fellowship and is a CoSIDA Academic All-America candidate.

Ficken will return to his home state as a Nittany Lion for the final time Nov. 8, as Penn State visits Indiana for a noon kick in Bloomington. The Big Ten East Division game will air on BTN, the Penn State Sports network (10:30 a.m. airtime) and www.GoPSUsports.com.

Tickets are available for Penn State's last two home games of the season: Nov. 15 vs. Temple (Military Appreciation Day/Seats For Soldiers) and the Nov. 29 Senior Day clash against No. 7 Michigan State. The kick times for both games are to be determined.

Fans can purchase Penn State tickets at PSUnrivaled.com, call 800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office (weekdays, 10 a.m-6 p.m.). The Beaver Stadium ticket office, near Gate E, opens four hours before kickoff for all Penn State home games.

Penn State Football is on Twitter (@PennStateFball) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/PSUFball).

Last Updated November 03, 2014

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