STILLWATER, Okla. — Ben Grogan passed Barry Sanders a couple weeks ago. Dan Bailey could go down on Saturday.
Pretty good company for the senior kicker.
Grogan is closing in on Oklahoma State’s career scoring record heading into this weekend’s game at Kansas. He leapfrogged Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, when he kicked five extra points and two field goals in a 49-31 victory over Texas on Oct. 1. He is up to 369 points heading into the matchup with the Jayhawks, just one behind Bailey, who kicks for the Dallas Cowboys.
“Ben has done a really good job for us,” said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who was Sanders’ quarterback from 1986-89. “He’s been consistent. He’s had two pretty significant surgeries and has rehabbed himself over the summers and come back and kicked well. We’ve taken away the kickoff duties from him, felt like that stressed his body a little much, but he’s been very consistent for us, level-headed and a guy that we can trust.”
Grogan connected on five extra points and a 30-yard field goal in a 38-31 win over Iowa State on Oct. 8, and the Cowboys (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) were off last weekend.
Freshman Matt Ammendola took over kickoffs this season, allowing Grogan to focus on just kicking. He is working on another solid year, teaming up with holder Zach Sinor and primarily Sam Walkingstick as the long snapper.
He is 8 for 10 on field goals and 29 for 30 on PAT attempts, with the lone miss blocked by Texas. The missed field goals were a 49-yard attempt against Pittsburgh on Sept. 17 — 2 yards beyond his career-longest kick — and a 44-yard try at Baylor on Sept. 24, both of which hooked wide left.
Grogan has benefited from Oklahoma State’s prolific offense, but he also has delivered at key moments for the Cowboys.
“The guys that have kicked here over the last six or eight years have obviously had a chance to score a lot of points,” Gundy said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to score a lot of touchdowns, but his consistency has played a huge role in the success he’s had and the opportunity to break this record.”
After struggling a bit at the start of his freshman year in 2013, connecting on just 6 of his first 12 field-goal attempts, Grogan finished the season 5 of 6, while also hitting on 67 of 68 PATs overall.
Grogan made 16 of 20 field-goal attempts last season, coming through in the clutch with back-to-back winning kicks against Texas and Kansas State. He also went 61 for 64 on PAT attempts, including the last 42 in a row and all 10 in a 70-53 win over Texas Tech.
Grogan also needs one extra point to match Bailey’s record of 199. He also is tied with Bailey for second on the OSU list with 57 made field goals, well back of Larry Roach’s mark of 69 set from 1981-84.
“It’s really impressive,” junior center Brad Lundblade said. “He’s a guy that works really hard. He’s been a reliable guy. He’s a good veteran leader for our team and I’m happy for him that he has this opportunity.”