What started with Matt Fodge in 2008, and continued with the likes of Dan Bailey, Quinn Sharp and possibly now Zach Sinor, special teams at Oklahoma State has been second-to-none.
Since his freshman year in 2013, Ben Grogan has been the starting kicker at Oklahoma State. He ranks fourth in school history in points, and is on pace to “shatter” every kicking stat that is in his way.
Yet, no Oklahoma State fan ranks Grogan among Bailey or Sharp because for the first year and a half, Grogan was wildly inconstant. His freshman season, Grogan went 11-18 on his field goals and 2-5 from beyond 40 yards.
Oklahoma State was also at a time, where we were spoiled with great place kickers. We expected Grogan to be great, when what he needed was time to develop.
But year after year, Gundy hasn’t recruited a kicker good enough to take Grogan’s spot. Even Gundy’s annual cry for a walk on kicker has been to no avail, and Grogan has been the guy.
Yet, even this last offseason, some fans were expressing their hope of a new kicker other than Grogan. It’s time as fans to back Grogan, considering what he did last season.
Oklahoma State is not 10-0 without Grogan in late November last year. The turning point of his career was no doubt the Texas game last year. After starting the season by missing two field goals in the season opener, Grogan seemed to be headed for another inconsistently dismal year.
But with the Cowboys down by three at Texas, Grogan calmly knocked down a 36-yarder, only to be called back for a freaking delay of game. Grogan calmly knocked down a 41 yard field goal, and then capped it off with a game winning 40 yard field goal, from the same hash, to give Oklahoma State a 30-27 win.
We all remember the next week against Kansas State; Grogan hit another go ahead field goal with a minute left to push the Cowboys to 5-0. He was in the midst of 10 consecutive made field goals, and finished the year with five in a row, including two in the Sugar Bowl.
Grogan was named to the Lou Groza Award watch list, although that’s not saying much. Preseason award lists are overrated, and as always, we won’t know much until the season gets underway. But Grogan has Lou Groza potential, now that Roberto Aguayo is out of college.
I’m not saying he’s going to win it; I won’t get too far away. But I do think it’s time that we no longer feel anxious when we go for three. I’m counting on Grogan to end his OSU career on a high note. Add that with sophomore punter Zach Sinor and Barry J. Sanders returning kicks, special teams should once again be a strength for Oklahoma State football.