Oregon State will be without its top two cornerbacks against the Cougars.
Things just got a little tougher for Oregon State’s struggling defense.
The Beavers released an injury report Tuesday morning announcing that their two starting cornerbacks, sophomore Xavier Crawford, and junior Dwayne Williams, are out of the picture for this Saturday’s game against 21st-ranked Washington State.
Williams suffered a torn ACL in the first half of the Beavers’ game against Minnesota last week, and is done for the season, while Crawford injured his shoulder in the Beavers’ defeat to the Golden Gophers.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s an opportunity for some of the kids to step up,” said Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen.
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It’s a huge blow for the Beavers against WSU’s pass-heavy offense.
Crawford started against Minnesota but sat out the second half after sustaining a shoulder injury. He started every game at cornerback for Oregon State as a freshman last year and was named a freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, USA Today, Pro Football Focus and Campus Insiders. He was fourth on Oregon State’s defense with 70 tackles, including two-for-loss.
Crawford will be replaced by senior Kyle White, who originally transferred to Oregon State from Orange Coast College in 2016 as a running back.
White (6-foot, 200 pounds) moved from running back to cornerback in fall 2016, and appeared in six games for the Beavers last season, though he played mostly on special teams. He’s played in three games for Oregon State this season, starting one, and has six tackles and one interception.
On the other side of the field, Williams was in his second year as Oregon State’s starting cornerback, though, he only played five games in 2016 due to some injury issues. Williams had one tackle against Minnesota last week. he’ll be replaced by sophomore Jay Irvine (6-1, 199 pounds) who will be making his second career start at cornerback.
Irvine’s first start came in the fourth game last season, against Colorado, but that proved to be his final appearance of the year because he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against the Buffaloes.
Oregon State’s defense has struggled this season, giving up an average of 483.7 yards per game in the first three games. More perplexingly for the Beavers, they’ve also been unable to get to the opposing quarterback, and have yet to get their first sack of the year.
Meanwhile, WSU’s senior quarterback Luke Falk has traditionally had big games against Oregon State. In three starts against the Beavers, Falk has thrown 16 touchdowns passes, and accumulated almost 1,300 passing yards.
The injury bug has also extended to the Beavers’ special teams – they’ll be without kickoff specialist Zach Standish. The only good news for Oregon State is that receiver Seth Collins is listed as probable for this Saturday’s game. Collins has been nursing a finger injury and has yet to play this season.