Marqise Lee and Robert Woods have received plenty of hype this year after last year's phenomenal numbers. The receiver duo from USC made highlight reels every week with their jaw-dropping catches and speed in the open field.
Woods hauled in 111 passes for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns last year while Lee caught 73 passes for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns. The two of them have set the bar in the Pac-12.
But another duo in the conference is already way ahead of Woods and Lee this year and they're flying under the radar, much like their entire team.
Corvallis, Oregon is the home of the Oregon State Beavers. Corvallis is the place where football dreams go to die.
In 2008, No.1 USC lost to Oregon State 27-21. Poof. Gone was the dream. Corvallis celebrated wildly over the stunning upset but that was four years ago.
The spectacularly beautiful town didn't have a lot to cheer for after the Beavers went 3-9 last year. But that was last year.
This year the Beavers are 3-0 with two conference wins over UCLA and Arizona. Quarterback Sean Mannion is averaging 362.3 passing yards per game which puts him at No. 4 for all FBS passing leaders. Mannion has a great arm but he's got some help.
Sophomore Brandin Cooks and senior Markus Wheaton are currently ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the Pac-12's receiving leaders' rankings. Ahead of Woods. Ahead of Lee.
Cooks is averaging 134.7 receiving yards per game while Wheaton is averaging 134.3 yards. Who are these guys?
Cooks already has 404 receiving yards after three games. To put that in perspective, last year he had a season total of 391 yards. Wheaton had 986 receiving yards in 2011 but this year he already has 403 yards. The two of them are on pace for a 1,200 reception-yardage year. Each.
Are they as good as the Woods-Lee duo? That depends on you how define "good" but the numbers certainly point to the two having a more productive season thus far. The Beavers are also undefeated while USC is 4-1.
The last time USC played Oregon State was in 2010—the Beavers won at home, 36-7. The teams don't face each this year and that may be a benefit for USC.
But for the Oregon Ducks, their fate awaits on November 24. In Corvallis, of course, where possibly the two best receivers in the Pac-12 await.
Where dreams of football championships go to die.
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