Most are likely familiar with Oregon State's dynamic duo at wide receiver in senior Markus Wheaton and sophomore Brandin Cooks, but perhaps just as key to the Beavers' success this season is the 1-2 punch Oregon State possesses on defense in defensive ends Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn. Combined, Crichton and Wynn have teamed up for 82 tackles, including 17.0 tackles for loss and 10.0 sacks; numbers that make them arguably the most feared bookends in the Pac-12 Conference.
Oregon redshirt offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone has another difficult matchup this week facing one of the Pac-12's top sack artists in Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton.
"They're a physical group," said redshirt freshman offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone. "With them, they all really work hard across the line and they're really well coached.
"Crichton -- he's a physical man -- and he'll bull rush anyone off the line, so that's one thing we're going to have to look out for. I'm pretty excited to play against other players of that physicality."
Both sophomores, Crichton and Wynn have two more seasons to wreak havoc on Pac-12 competition. As freshmen, both players were key contributors to an Oregon State defense that took its fair share of lumps last season. This season however, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly says that both players have improved -- as has the Beaver defense as a whole -- providing few, if any, parallels to preparing for Oregon State this season compared to last season.
"They're a little bit stronger, a little bit bigger, a little bit more mature," said Kelly of Crichton and Wynn. "They still play with the same passion. They're both kids that play really, really, really hard when you turn the tape on. That's the thing that jumps off the screen about those guys."
Both players will likely play a prominent role in Oregon State's effort to try and duplicate the success the Stanford defense had in limiting the Ducks on the ground. A common refrain following every Oregon loss or narrow victory is whether the Ducks' opponent discovered the "blueprint" for slowing down Oregon's vaunted offense. Yet, as senior running back Kenjon Barner suggested Wednesday, no such thing exists.
"We just have to come out and play better than we did last week," said Barner. "We've got to come out and execute. There's not a specific formula for how to stop this team.
"Stanford and Oregon State are two completely different teams. Oregon State, they're a very good defense and they're a very good defense with a lot of good guys up front...They blitz, they're physical, and they hustle and we have to keep our eyes open and be ready."