Oregon State Football: Players to Watch vs. Stanford

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 10, 2012

CORVALLIS, OR - NOVEMBER 03: Wide receiver Markus Wheaton #2 of the Oregon State Beavers runs for a 50 yard touchdown as cornerback Osahon Irabor #24 and linebacker Steffon Martin #2 of the Arizona State Sun Devils give chase in the first quarter of the game on November 3, 2012 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

No. 11 Oregon State faces a tough test against No. 14 Stanford on Saturday in a Pac-12 clash, but the difference-makers always come out to play when it matters most.

The Beavers have had a few stars on both sides of the ball this season, as well as a quarterback who made the most of his opportunity in a start against Arizona State last week.

Here's a look at the players who have to step up for Oregon State to dispatch the Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on Saturday.


Cody Vaz, Junior, QB

Cody Vaz has found himself behind Ryan Katz and Sean Mannion throughout his career at Oregon State, but after Mannion tossed four interceptions in the 20-17 loss to Washington, Vaz got his first start of the season last week against an underrated Arizona State pass defense.

The junior proceeded to average 8.1 yards per pass attempt while tossing three touchdowns to one interception in the 36-26 victory.

Stanford has allowed 1.91 yards per carry this season, best in the nation, via CFBStats.com. In that regard, it may be up to Vaz to put some points up on the board for the Beavers.


Markus Wheaton, Senior, WR

Coming off an outstanding junior campaign, Wheaton has picked up right where he left off, posting 54 catches for 787 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

Wheaton registered four catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona State and is averaging a career-best 14.6 yards per reception.


Brandin Cooks, Sophomore, WR

Wheaton was supposed to be the receiver for Oregon State this season, but Brandin Cooks has emerged as perhaps the team's best option in receiving corps.

Cooks has racked up 50 catches for 906 yards and four touchdowns this season for the Beavers, including a 75-yard touchdown in Oregon State's 27-20 victory over UCLA.

Cooks had six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown against Arizona State last week.


Scott Crichton, Sophomore, DE

Scott Crichton has been a big part of Oregon State's run defense and pass rush this season.

The sophomore has registered 14 tackles for loss already (tied for second in the Pac-12) while racking up nine sacks (first in the conference).

While Crichton may go unnoticed in some parts of the country, Pac-12 fans know who this guy is. He'll be a crucial part in limiting Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor and putting pressure on inexperienced quarterback Kevin Hogan.


Jordan Poyer, Senior, CB

After sitting out the Arizona State game with a PCL sprain, Jordan Poyer is expected to play on Saturday against Stanford, according to Lindsay Schnell of the Oregonian.

Poyer, who leads the Beavers with five interceptions this season, will be critical in attempting to silence Stanford tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz leads the Cardinal in receptions (38) and receiving yards (566) this season.

If Poyer can stick to Ertz, it could make life miserable for Kevin Hogan.


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