clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Colorado Buffaloes vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys: Alamo Bowl Special Teams Preview

A look at Colorado and Oklahoma State ahead of the Alamo Bowl on Dec 29.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl might not be a new years six game for the No. 10 Colorado Buffaloes and No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys, but it's still a hyped up matchup that has the attention of national audiences.

Both teams enter the battle in San Antonio as runner-ups in their respective conferences with nearly identical records on the season. Oklahoma State played one fewer game due to the non-realignment of the Big-12 and a "play-in" conference championship.

Here's a look at the head-to-head special teams matchup for the Alamo Bowl.

Kickers

Colorado's kicking game suffered a huge blow with senior Diego Gonzales being knocked out for the season (Achilles) at Michigan. Backups Chris Graham and Davis Price stepped in to fill the void from Gonzales being out, combining to go 14-of-20 on field goal attempts (70.0 %) and 50-of-53 (94.3 %) on PAT's.

Oklahoma State's Ben Grogan went 18-of-23 on the season on field goal attempts and doesn't have much range for making longer attempts. He was 1-of-4 from beyond 40 yards and hasn't attempted one from 50+.

The two teams are relatively even on the kicking front with the exception that Price may give CU an advantage from beyond 50 yards out.

Punters

Alex Kinney has struggled in many games this season with Colorado giving up a short field, often resulting in scores for the Buffs opponents. He averages 41.3 yards per punt this season and in eight of the games this season has been called on less than five times. The worst game for Colorado was against Michigan with eight punts and allowing Jabrill Peppers a 54-yard return for a touchdown.

As a sophomore, the Cowboys' Zach Sinor had a solid season and reduced his workload significantly from 2015. He punted 17 fewer times and improved his average by two yards per attempt from 40.1 to 42.4 yards. Sinor has punted four times or less in seven of OSU's games.

Considering Colorado's inconsistencies, Oklahoma State has an advantage in this game.

Returners

Anthony Julmisse has found success in his first season returning kicks and Colorado ranks in the top 30 for kickoff and punt returns in the nation. The Buffaloes are 29th for kickoff return (23.0 yards per avg.) and 30th for punt returns (10.2 yards per avg.).

Oklahoma State has done slightly better this season with Barry Sanders Jr. handling the returning duties for an average of 23.9 yards on kickoff returns and 12.6 yards on punts.

There's no clear advantage between the two teams when it comes to returning, but it's a much different equation with the coverage units. Despite making improvements, Colorado has struggled to be efficient this season against opponents and ranked as one of the worst in the nation.

Up Next: Offense

Colorado's historic turnaround vs. Oklahoma State's consistent decade in the Big 12