Oregon State Position Previews - Special Teams

Sept. 8, 2012; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers head coach Mike Riley watches his team play against the Wisconsin Badgers from the sidelines the first half at Reser Stadium. - Jaime Valdez-US PRESSWIRE

Each week, we take a look at the various fronts of Washington's upcoming opponent. Today, we look at the special teams of the Oregon State Beavers.

Sorry for the late publishing, everybody. You know I love you, but if I have to choose between writing an article on a Friday night or going to a Halloween party and playing more games of flip cup than is probably healthy, I'm going to throw on the Blues Brothers costume every time. To the notes!

Place Kicking: Oregon State welcomes back a measure of experience in third-year sophomore Trevor Romaine, who is 6-8 on field goal attempts this year and 21-30 in his career. His two misses this year are from 35 and 40 yards, but he has a long of 43, so anything in that range is definitely a possibility for him to hit. He's also 19-20 on PATs coming into Saturday's game.

Kickoffs: Romaine's work on kickoffs this year has been impressive, having booted 19 of his 32 attempts for touchbacks. The team's coverage unit has also earned its keep, allowing under 20 yards per return to its opponents. If this phase of OSU's game has an apparent weakness, it's probably Romaine's tendency to kick the ball out of bounds, as he has four such misfires in just 18 career games.

Punts: Keith Kostol's average of 42.3 yards per punt ranks him in the middle of the conference, but OSU's superb coverage unit makes up for any shortcoming he might have. The unit averages just over seven yards per return, good for third in the conference, and has given up just one return for more than 20 yards.

Kickoff Returns: Malcolm Marable's production as a returner is down significantly from his performance in 2011, from 24.8 yards per return to 16.9, with a long of 23 against BYU. Washington, however, ranks 11th in the conference against opponent kick returns, which suggests that Marable could be due to break one out soon. OSU's kick returns and the resulting battle for field position could well be one of the key deciding factors of this game.

Punt Returns: Jordan Poyer reprises his role for the third year as OSU's primary punt returner, and though he has only had the chance to return four punts in 2012, he has produced a healthy average of 9.8 yards per return. Like Marable, though, his 2012 stats are down from the previous year, as he averaged 14.1 yards in 2011. Again, though, Washington ranks near the bottom against opponent punt returns, giving up an average of 13 yards and a conference-worst two touchdowns. Don't look for Poyer to fair catch if he can avoid it, because this is one area in which OSU matches up very well against UW.

As always, thanks to College Football Statistics and ESPN for the relevant data that went into this article. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking below.

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