Shoring up a thin secondary
While the Beavers are known for their dominating run defense, the secondary has had to take it’s lumps this season. They rank 59th in the FBS, allowing 236.4 passing yards per game.
Despite the stats, it doesn’t take away how good these two backs have been for the Beavs.
Perhaps the best player to ever play the corner for OSU, Jordan Poyer has had a phenomenal season.
Arguably Oregon State’s most important defensive player, Poyer ranks eighth on the team with 36 tackles. He’s been surprisingly good on blitzes, with four tackles for loss and a sack.
Of course, Poyer makes his bread and butter in the secondary. He leads the team with six interceptions (returned for 105 yards and a touchdown), and is second in breakups (five) and passes defended (11).
In terms of the Pac-12, Poyer is the best corner in the conference. His 1.22 defended passes per game ranks fourth in the conference, while he leads the Pac in interceptions.
Unfortunately for Beaver fans, Poyer is a senior this season—and a legitimate NFL prospect. But as long as he’s wearing orange and black, Poyer remains a vital member of Oregon State football.
While he generally rides backseat to Poyer in terms of hype, junior Rashaad Reynolds is enjoying a tremendous season in 2012.
No. 16 quietly came onto the scene in 2011, posting 68 tackles and nine passes defended. He’s one-upped himself this season, leading the Beavers in tackles (61) and passes defended (16). He ranks second on the team with three interceptions (returned for 46 yards).
Reynolds is right up there in the Pac-12, ranking 22nd in tackles per game (6.1), second in passes defended and seventh in picks.
Poyer remains the more talented of the two, but that doesn’t take away how good Reynolds has been. Playing opposite Poyer is a tough assignment—if a player’s seen as a weak link, he’s going to get targeted.
But Reynolds hasn’t been a weak link, instead playing a high level of football all season long.
He’s handled himself well this season, making team’s think twice before trying to take advantage of him. And unlike Poyer, Reynolds has a year of eligibility left—meaning he should be leading the secondary this time next season.