The Oregon State football team is on pace to double its interception total of a year ago this season. The Beavers have 16 through nine games compared to 11 last season in 12 games.
CB Jordan Poyer leads the way with five INTs and CB Rashaad Reynolds has three. CB Sean Martin and S Ryan Murphy have two each.
“The whole defense has taken it to another level,” coach Mike Riley said. “Getting in good situations, good passing situations, and getting the pass rush going and changing the coverage up, then you have a chance to make some more plays. The better the pass rush, the better chance to make plays. It’s the growth of the individuals and better overall defense.”
Allan Bridgford is likely to get the start at QB for Cal with starter Zach Maynard (knee) injured. The Beavers are familiar with Bridgford since they recruited him a little.
“We know him from high school, but we haven’t seen him in a while so there’s some mystery to it,” Riley said of preparing for Cal’s offense. “We saw him among the other quarterbacks we looked at. He committed early to Cal.”
As for what Riley saw when he played against Oregon last weekend? “He was solid and managed the team well," he said. "He has a good arm and can do all the stuff.”
Talking about recruiting, check out my story in Wednesday’s GT about the two verbal commitments. There’s an OSU connection with Brandon Arnold. And the other one is a JC CB/returner.
WR Markus Wheaton was invited to the Senior Bowl, along with Poyer. More about Wheaton to come at the end of the week when OSU allows media access to the players.
There will also be Mannion's reaction to being named the starting QB this week.