Oklahoma State’s football team has a tall task Saturday — a matchup against No. 1 and defending national champion Florida State in the Cowboys Classic.
But if the game comes down to a last-minute field-goal attempt from the Cowboys, don’t expect the pressure to affect sophomore place-kicker Ben Grogan.
Grogan will be right at home.
Grogan grew up in Arlington and played two games at AT&T Stadium as a high school kicker at Arlington Martin.
“It will be a cool experience to get to be back home for such a big game,” Grogan said. “All of my immediate family will get to be there.”
As a senior at Martin, Grogan was the first-team kicker on the 5A all-state squad after making 9 out of 11 field-goal attempts, with a long of 56 yards, and converting all 40 extra points he attempted.
Last season, Grogan took over as Oklahoma State’s starting kicker from Week 1. He led the Cowboys in scoring with 100 points as a freshman, making 11 of his 18 field-goal attempts (two were blocked) and hitting on 67 of his 68 extra-point attempts.
“I didn’t think they would redshirt me, so I knew I needed to be ready right away,” Grogan said. “In college, there’s normally someone faster and more talented at your position. So it can be tough to start as a freshman. But it’s different for kickers. Except for worrying more about getting your kicks blocked, it’s the same.”
In high school, Grogan connected on six field goals, three from more than 50 yards away, against North Crowley in 2012. The year before, Grogan made a 46-yard kick late in a game against Euless Trinity through extreme wind in the 5A state semifinals to help send the Warriors to the state title game.
“That game against Trinity, those high-pressure situations, and kicking from those distances in high school really helped me prepare for college,” Grogan said.
As a sophomore, Grogan expects to feel at home in every situation.
“I think I’ll be a lot more comfortable this year, with my snapper and holder and everything,” Grogan said.
Grogan and the rest of the Cowboys hope to challenge Florida State and compete for the Big 12 title when conference play starts.
“Knowing we are playing such a good team has helped us push harder and focus more in camp,” Grogan said. “A lot of people think we are young, not top tier. We are young, but we are ready to play.”
Games to watch
1Player to win two Heisman Trophies. Ohio State’s Archie Griffin won the award in 1974 and ’75. Florida State’s Jameis Winston will try to become the second this season.
8SEC teams ranked in the AP Top 25 entering the season, the most of any conference. The Pac-12 is second with six ranked teams.
• “I injured myself in a fall.” — USC cornerback Josh Shaw in a statement released through his attorney. In a bizarre twist, Shaw admitted he did not suffer two high ankle sprains after jumping off a balcony to save his nephew from drowning — his original story that had quickly elevated him to hero status. The true cause for Shaw jumping is still unclear.
• “So, I know for a fact he’ll win the Heisman.” — Auburn backup quarterback Jeremy Johnson said to an AL.com writer when asked about starting quarterback Nick Marshall.
Tweet of the off-season
After Oregon (@OregonDuckTix) revealed it will use scratch-and-sniff tickets this year, one scented like a Carl’s Junior burger, people began speculating how their university’s tickets would smell. The Stanford athletic department (@GoStanford) had the best response, tweeting one word: “Roses.”
Rising, falling, holding steady
Grading the Power 5