December 12, 2011
After being named an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, Rivals.com, and ESPN.com you would think that Florid State punter Shawn Powell has to be feeling pretty good about himself.
Powell's average of 47.0 yards per punt leads the nation, and FSU leads the nation in net punting with a 42.0 yard average. 21 of his 49 punts this season have exceeded 50 yards, and seven went at least 60 yards, and 12 landed inside his opponents 10-yard line.
But Powell knows his career has one more game left, and he knows all too well who was named MVP last time FSU was in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Powell, just a freshman at the time, was on the sidelines in 2008 as FSU punter/kicker Graham Gano was named the games' MVP in a 42-13 win over Wisconsin. The 2008 Lou Groza Award winner made six PATs, averaged 48.2 yards on five punts, the first three of which landed inside the Badgers own 3-yard line thanks to some wicked backspin, and he also had three touchbacks on kickoffs.
"I have big shoes to fill with that," Powell said of Gano's MVP. "Graham put three on the 1-yard line and just had an amazing game so I have big shoes to fill doing as good as he did, just finishing my career out at the Champs Sports Bowl just like he did."
When asked by an Orlando TV reporter if there would be another FSU Champs Sports Bowl MVP, Powell said he hoped so.
"Oh yeah," he said. "I'm going to try real hard to get there."