Through a season of up and down play on both sides of the ball for West Virginia, the Mountaineers’ special teams unit has been consistently excellent.
The special teams unit is spearheaded by senior punter Josh Growden. After punting for three years at LSU, the Sydney, Australia native transfer to WVU this past offseason and has been outstanding all year long. Growden has been recognized for his accomplishments this season by being named to the Ray Guy Award watch list for the nation’s best punter.
Growden has punted 51 times so far this season. Of those 51 punts, three resulted in touchbacks, 27 were fair caught and only nine were returned. On those nine returns, opponents gained only three yards, for a .33 yard average on punt returns. He has also downed 15 punts inside the opponent’s 20 yards line.
Six punts have traveled farther than 50 yards, including a 62 yarder against Iowa State.
Growden’s best performance of the season was his most recent according to head coach Neal Brown. Growden punted nine times, six of which were fair caught and three were inside the 20. WVU also recovered a fumble on a punt when a Baylor player muffed the fair catch attempt.
“(We) had a huge fumble recovery on our punt coverage team,” Brown said. “Our punt coverage team has been excellent all year.”
Against Oklahoma, Growden showed he can do more than just punt. Head coach Neal Brown called for a fake punt pass, which Growden completed to Dante Bonamico for seven yards and a first down.