For the second consecutive week, Washington will face a decorated placekicker. Portland State senior Jonathan Gonzales is one of 27 collegiate kickers on the Fred Mitchell Award Watch List for 2016. The Mitchell Award is presented each year to a kicker that demonstrates excellence on the field and in the community. A preseason All-Big Sky Conference selection, Gonzales also has been a volunteer for the Foster Youth Sports Faire for San Bernardino County and the Bring your Kids to School Day at PSU, mentoring local youth. In two seasons at Portland State, Gonzales ranks fourth in school history in career field goals made and set a record for consecutive extra points made (77).
While Gonzales has not attempted a field goal yet in 2016, he has been successful on 30 of his 40 career attempts and has made all of his PATs this year.
Portland State special teams depth chart:
Punting and kickoff duties are handled by fellow senior and Australia native Marcus Kinsella, who has managed one touchback on his seven kickoffs so far this season. While Kinsella has only averaged 33 yards per punt, he does boast an interesting stat of not having any return yards resulting from his 10 punts (3 fair catches). Freshman long snapper Riley Shackelford will be snapping in just his third career collegiate game.
Senior running back Nate Tago has averaged only 17 yards per kickoff return in 2016, but does rank 8th in school history with 1,028 kickoff return yards. QB/WR Josh Kraght of Lynden High School serves as both the punt return man and holder for Gonzales, an interesting combo of talents. Kraght has averaged over 9 yards on his three returns this season.
Portland State ran a successful fake punt against San Jose State in which Tago completed a 43-yard pass to TE Maximo Espitia for a first down. Defensive end Davond Dade blocked a first-quarter field goal attempt by Central Washington in the opener and wide receiver Trent Riley blocked a punt against San Jose State in the fourth quarter.
Portland State special teams vitals: