All-America, Lou Groza Award, MWC Special Teams Player of the Year Candidate
NEW MEXICO:Former walk-on who had never played organized football before joining the team in the fall of 2002...has developed into one of the premier kickers in the country...two-time Lou Groza Award semifinalist and preseason second team All-America selection by CollegeFootballNews.com...ball explodes off his foot and he has made marked improvement in his consistency and accuracy...ranks among the top-10 on the UNM career lists for field goals made (29 - T4th), FG accuracy (78.4% - 2nd), long FG (52 - T3rd), extra points made (83 - 5th), and points scored (170 - 9th)...29-37 on FGs and 83-89 PATs in 31 games...virtually automatic from inside 40 yards, connecting on 22 straight and 23-25 during his career...last miss inside 40 was a 27-yarder at New Mexico State (Sept. 25) on his only attempt of the 2004 season..9 multiple field goal games and 3 game-winning kicks (all on the road)...also has a career-long 62-yard attempt...is in his second year as the Lobos' full-time kicker...backed up first team all-MWC honoree Wes Zunker in 2004...turned heads with his dramatic improvement in the spring of `04, following a redshirt season...displayed a tremendous boost in his leg strength and made significant progress in the weight room...underrated athlete who can dunk a basketball and owns the position vertical jump record at UNM (38")...has also shown excellent speed in kickoff coverage...was the Lobos' No. 1 kicker in eight games in `02, his first season of football at any level...a soccer player in high school, he did not know how to put his pads on when he first joined the team...was encouraged to walk-on by then-starting QB Casey Kelly, who was dating Byrd's older sister, Kristen...Kristen and Casey have since married.
CAREER HIGHS:Field Goals: 4, at UNLV (10/14/06).
Field Goal Attempts: 4, at UNLV (10/14/06).
Long Field Goal: 52 yards, vs. Missouri (9/16/06).
Long Field Goal Attempt: 62 yards, vs. Utah (10/19/06).
Extra Points: 6, twice.
Total Points: 15, at UNLV (10/14/06).
Touchbacks: 6, vs. New Mexico State (9/17/05).
2006 (SENIOR): Lou Groza Award semifinalist and two-time MWC Special Teams Player of the Week who has established himself as one of the top kickers in the nation and a leading candidate for MWC Special Teams Player of the Year honors...leads the league and is tied for 5th on the UNM single season list with 15 field goals (15-19), including a long of 52...1.5 FGs/game is 9th in the country...2nd among MWC kickers with 68 points, including 23-23 PATs...one of 3 in the conference without a missed extra point...41 points in 6 league games, including a conference-best 9 FGs (10 att.)...lone miss in MWC play was a career-long 62-yard attempt vs. Utah...5 multiple FG games this fall and has two game-winners, both coming on the road (at UNLV, at Colorado State)...has almost single-handedly shut down opponent's kick return game, helping the Lobos rank 1st in the MWC in kickoff coverage...has blasted touchbacks (24) on a league-high 52% of his attempts...the next-best team has a 41% touchback ratio...opponents have returned just 19 kickoffs all year, including 9 out of the end zone.
at Colorado State...Named both a Lou Groza Award National Star and MWC Special Teams Player of The Week after hitting a pair of FGs, including the game-winner from 33 yards out as time expired...told reporters afterwards that he began thinking about his celebration of the game-winning kick while standing on the sidelines as UNM drove into field goal range in the waning minutes...left no doubt, splitting the uprights perfectly with a booming kick...also connected from 39 yards in the 1st quarter and didn't allow the Rams past their own 20 on 4 kickoffs.
vs. Utah...Spent the entire day in the training room receiving treatment for flu symptoms, but was ready when the team needed him at gametime...2-3 on his FG attempts, with the lone miss being a career-long 62-yard attempt...connected from 30 and 21 yards and perfect on his 4 PATs...booted 3 touchbacks and made one of the biggest stops of the game, when he ran down speedy Ute return man Brice McCain, knocking him out of bounds to prevent a 4th quarter TD...the Lobo D forced Utah to punt 4 plays later.
at UNLV...Turned in the most prolific game of his career en route his first MWC Special Teams Player of the Week award...career-high 4 field goals (4-4), all of which came after halftime as the Lobos' rallied from a 14-point deficit...connected from 33 and 24 yards out in the 3rd quarter and hit a 29-yarder with 4:37 remaining in the 4th...hit the game-winner in OT, a 39-yarder to silence the crowd...15 points scored were also a career-high.
vs. Wyoming...Perfect on his only FG attempt of the night, a 45-yarder in the 2nd quarter, and booted all three kickoffs into the end zone...Cowboy standout John Wendling tried to bring one out and was upended at the 11-yard line.
vs. Missouri...Lone FG was a career-long 52-yarder into the wind that sailed through the uprights with room to spare...kick trimmed the Mizzou lead to 13-10 late in the 4th quarter...a second attempt from 45 yards was blocked...sent all 3 kickoffs out of the end zone, including 2 into the wind.
at New Mexico State...Connected on a pair of 38-yard field goals and booted 4 touchbacks...45-yard FG attempt just missed to the right.
vs. Portland State...Chipped in a pair of short FGs, hitting from 29 and 24 yards in the first half.
2005 (JUNIOR): Erased the preseason question marks surrounding the UNM kicking game with his performance during the season...a Lou Groza Award semifinalist, who hit 13 of 15 field goals, including a career-long of 46 yards...connected on 8 of his last 9 FG attempts and 5 in a row in the last 6 games...first FG miss came on a career-long attempt of 51 yards at TCU and a low snap contributed to him pushing his third FG attempt a bit to the right at Wyoming...tied for 4th in the MWC in FGs/game while 86.7% accuracy was 3rd...4-5 on FGs of 40 yards or longer...5th among MWC kickers with 72 points scored...had hit 44 consecutive extra points, dating back to the 2002 season, before his first attempt at SDSU hit the upright...finished 33-38 on PATs...gave the Lobos a real weapon on kickoffs, hammering 31 balls into the end zone for touchbacks, 21 more than the team's 12-game total in 2004...47% of his kickoffs were unreturnable...vs. Colorado State...Hit a pair of FGs for the third straight game, converting attempts of 34 and 24 yards...also had 3 more touchbacks on his kickoffs...off target snaps contributed to a pair of missed extra points...at San Diego State...Notched his 3rd multiple FG game of the year, connecting on both attempts from 39 and 43 yards, respectively...43-yarder was the second longest of his career...missed his first PAT since 2002 (44 straight) when his first attempt glanced off the upright...was perfect on his final 5 however...also notched 2 more touchbacks and helped the coverage team limit SDSU to an 18.4 avg. on its 7 returns...at Wyoming...Turned in the second multiple FG game of his career, hitting 2 of his career-high 3 attempts and all 3 extra points...scored 9 of the Lobos' 27 points...knocked in a 24-yarder at the end of the 2nd half and was good from 30 midway though the 4th...a low snap contributed to him pushing his third FG attempt a bit to the right...booted 2 more touchbacks and made an outstanding TD-saving play, running down Cowboy star Jovon Bouknight on a long kick-off return...Wyoming's ensuing drive ended on downs...at TCU...Missed his first field goal of the year, a career-long 51-yard attempt that was pushed wide right late in the 3rd quarter, but did another tremendous job on kick-offs...booted 4 touchbacks into the end zone to limit the nation's leading returner, Cory Rodgers, to just a single run-back for a gain of 19 yards...hit all 4 PATs...at UTEP...Notched the first multiple field goal game of his career, converting both of his attempts in front of a hostile road crowd...nailed a career-long 46-yarder on the Lobos' first possession and had a 26-yard kick in the 4th quarter...also sent his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks 3 times, limiting speedy Miner return man Johnnie Lee Higgins to just a single return...vs. New Mexico State...Gave the Lobos a 24-0 halftime lead with his 37-yard field goal and was perfect on his 5 PATs...also booted 6 of his 7 kickoffs into or out of the end zone for touchbacks...only returned kick was a called pooch kick by the coaching staff...at Missouri...Silenced the boisterous crowd with a clutch 40-yard FG that gave UNM the lead for good, 38-35, with 4:22 left in a wild back-and-forth game...kick was the longest attempt of his career...also 6-6 on PATs, had 1 touchback and credited for 2 tackles on kickoff coverage...vs. UNLV...Booted a 37-yard FG, his first since Oct. 19, 2002, on the Lobos' first drive against UNLV...connected on all 3 PATs and sent 3 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
2004 (SOPHOMORE): Battled Wes Zunker for the starting job during the spring before eventually settling into the reserve role...appeared in two games, handling kick-off duties vs. Texas Tech and missing a 27-yard field goal attempt at New Mexico State.
2002 (TRUE FRESHMAN): Won the starting kicking job prior to the UNLV game after Wes Zunker was sidelined with a groin injury...participated in walk-on tryouts in early August, but was not among the 105 players invited for two-a-day practices...rejoined the team at the start of the fall semester on Aug. 19...had never played organized football prior to his Lobo tryout and did not know how to put the pads in his pants or fit his helmet when he first suited up...played soccer at St. Pius X HS in Albuquerque...connected on 96.4% (27-28) of his PAT attempts, which was among the best in the MWC...was one of just two starting MWC kickers without a PAT miss in league play (21-21)...19 straight PAT conversions over the last 6 games after his lone miss...was 1-2 on field goals, missing a 34-yarder against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl....knocked a 33-yard pooch punt vs. Utah State...Utah...perfect on all 6 PAT attempts, including both tries in overtime...kicked the game-tying extra point with 46 seconds left in regulation and connected on a 25-yard attempt to send the game to a second OT period...Utah State...kicked his first career field goal from 31 yards out at the end of the 1st half...hit 5-6 PAT attempts, but lone miss clinched the Aggies overtime victory...UNLV...3-3 on PATs in his first-ever appearance in an organized football game
HIGH SCHOOL:A 2002 graduate of St. Pius X HS in Albuquerque...did not play football...played soccer but did not letter
PERSONAL:Born June 25, 1984, in Rock Springs, Wyo....age is 22...full name is Kenneth Ryan Byrd...son of Stephen and LouAnne...has three siblings, Andrea, Kristen and Michael...also has a niece, Christine...enjoys playing ping pong and golf...major is Criminology.