Oregon State football should suck it up.
Sure, it was just embarrassed by its bitter rival, Oregon, by the score of 48-24 in the Civil War. But the fact of the matter is, the Beavers overachieved this season. They’re an extremely young team and are guaranteed to improve in 2013.
Here are three players who were key parts of OSU’s success this year and will only get better.
3. Storm Woods
Woods is leading the Beavers in rushing this season. Going into the regular season finale against Nicholls State, he has totaled 768 yards and nine touchdowns on 4.8 yards a pop. He’s also a threat to catch passes out of the backfield as he has recorded 34 receptions for 260 yards as well.
While those numbers aren’t jaw-dropping, Woods is just a freshman. Next season, expect nothing less than a 1,000 yards on the ground.
2. Brandin Cooks
While Woods headlines Oregon State’s ground game, Cooks will be the face of its air attack, if he isn’t already.
The explosive wideout led the team in receiving yards this season as a mere sophomore. He reeled in 63 balls for 1,113 on 17.7 yards per catch and five touchdowns. Cooks burnt many a defensive back in 2012 as he recorded a reception of at least 40 yards in seven of the Beavers’ 10 games.
Next year, he’ll get even more action due to the departure of senior Markus Wheaton.
1. Scott Crichton
NFL scouts are watching Crichton closely.
The 6’3”, 263-pound defensive end is only a sophomore, but youth or opposing offensive tackles couldn’t stop him from racking up nine sacks this season. He wasn’t a one-trick pony, though. He was more than just a designated pass-rusher. Crichton was also a force against the run as he led the team in tackles for loss with 16.0.
With Jordan Poyner headed to the league, Crichton will be the poster boy of the Beavers' stop unit next season.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.