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ESPN: Coach Andersen sets lofty goal for Oregon State Football

Is it possible for the Beavers to get 60 sacks/takeaways?

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Chantel Jennings reported last week that Gary Andersen has set lofty goals for Oregon State’s defense this season. Those goals include earning 60 combined sacks and takeaways.

Jennings writes “It’s a tough goal -- one that only 22 FBS schools were able to accomplish last season (Washington, Utah and Colorado were the only Pac-12 schools on that list) -- and one that seems tougher when considering that the Beavers totaled only 38 a season ago.”

In fact, only 19% of FBS teams have reached the 60 combined sacks and takeaway mark over the last 5 seasons. During Gary Andersen’s 20-year coaching career, only 5 of his football teams have been able to reach the mark.

Here’s how the Beavers have faired the last 7 seasons:

2016: 18 sacks, 7 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries = 38 total

2015: 17 sacks, 8 interceptions, 4 fumble recoveries = 29 total

2014: 29 sacks, 11 interceptions, 7 fumble recoveries = 47 total

2013: 25 sacks, 19 interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries = 54 total

2012: 28 sacks, 20 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries = 59 total

2011: 24 sacks, 11 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries = 47 total

2010: 30 sacks, 10 interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries = 50 total

This is not an easy feat to achieve. Oregon State came incredibly close in 2012, but fell just short of the benchmark. Is it possible for the 2017 team to get 60 combined sacks/takeaways?

I’d put their chances at extremely unlikely... They would need to get very lucky and have the ball bounce their way (literally). I figure while forcing fumbles is a skill that can be taught, recovering fumbles requires a certain amount of luck. Interceptions to some extent can also be based in luck, via tipped passes, wide receiver/quarterback miscommunications etc. The Beavers will probably need to earn 30+ sacks to achieve their goal and while I expect them to improve on their sack totals from 2015/2016, 30+ seems a bit too dubious.