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Opponent Special Teams Preview: Oregon State

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Victor Bolden is dangerous in the return game.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Oregon State Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Who remembers this hot garbage?

I remember it well. No one could believe it happened. In fact, on my way home from the game I stopped at the Ballard QFC to pick up my paycheck and when I told people that Oregon State had won, no one believed me.

Sadly, it was real. It was very real.

OSU Special Teams Depth Chart:

Oregon State placekicker Garrett Owens has a .786 (22-28) career field goal percentage which ranks second in OSU history. This season he has hit only 8-12 (.667) but has been a rather impressive 4-6 from 40-49 yards.

Owens has given way to true freshman Adley Rutschman for the majority of the kickoff duties in 2016. Rutschman is averaging over 63 yards per kickoff with 11 touchbacks on 25 kicks.

How good is punter Nick Porebski? Good enough to be one of Oregon State’s representatives at Pac-12 Media Day back in July. A year ago, Porebski punted 72 times for an average of 41.1 yards. This season he has been slightly better that that with an average punt of 42 yards and a long of 66. Five of his punts have exceeded 50 yards and 12 have been downed inside the 20 yard line. 107 punts in a season and a half? Practice makes perfect, I suppose.

Victor Bolden is the most dangerous player on the Beavers’ roster, and his 29.3-yard average on kickoff returns is tops in the conference. This is what head coach Gary Andersen had to say about Bolden back in July at Media Day:

"He needs to be a difference maker in this league. I believe he will be a difference maker in this league. He holds himself at a high regard of being a tremendous player within our league, and hopefully elite within the country, and that's his expectation. If we can get him the ball the right way, he should do some fantastic things."

Bolden has not been as successful returning punts (3.4-yard average), but did take his lone return opportunity 78 yards for a touchdown last season.

Oregon State’s kickoff coverage has been quite good, allowing just under 22 yards per return. Punt coverage has been stingy as well (3.3 yard average on 10 returns).