Winning does have its perks.
The Oregon State football team has started the season with four straight wins, two over ranked opponents, and now find itself with a No. 10 ranking.
It’s the highest ranking since the beginning of the 2001 season when the Beavers were No. 10 on the heels of the Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame.
It’s also the highest ranking for the Beavers under coach Mike Riley.
“It means we are still winning,” Riley said Sunday night. “We just have to keep it going. The main rankings are at the end of the year but it’s nice to win. The players should be proud of it. It’s an indication of how you are doing, and you want to do well.”
It’s a long, long way from the 3-9 season of a year ago. Riley believes the miserable year helped motivate the players to be ready for the season.
And he expects they won’t get complacent with their success because of what they’ve been through.
“We talk over and over again to do the things necessary and not to forget how hard it is to win,” Riley said. “You have to have a good reaction from a loss, you have to rebound, and it’s simple to get everyone’s attention after a loss. You have to have the same reaction after a win. You have to go after it hard.”
Senior cornerback Jordan Poyer was recognized by the Walter Camp Foundation when he was named the national defensive player of the week for his stellar performance Saturday in the 19-6 victory over Washington State.
Poyer had three interceptions, one pass breakup and four tackles — one for a loss.
“I was seeing the field really well,” Poyer said. “The plays were there to be made, and I made them. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.”
The Beavers also picked up a commitment from Skyler Phillips, according to Rivals.com.
Phillips, reportedly the biggest offensive lineman in the state at 6-foot-3, 340-pound and a two-star athlete out of Churchill High in Eugene, told rivals he loved the atmosphere and liked being around Riley.
He can bench 365 pounds, run a 5.3-second 40-yard dash and has a 24-inch vertical.
Overall, the Beavers are in a good place as they prepare for a nonconference road trip to BYU this weekend, despite being five-point underdogs.
BYU is a strong defensive team, but the run-based offense hasn’t been too potent, ranking 72nd in total offense (398.3 ypg).
The Beavers maintained the top rush defense in the Pac-12 (67.3 ypg) and are fourth nationally. The pass defense moved up to eighth in the conference (286.0 ypg).
And, most importantly, the scoring defense is second in the Pac-12 (17.0 ppg).
The Beavers have the second-best passing offense in the Pac-12 (339.5 ypg) and improved to the ninth-best rushing offense (118.5 ypg).
“I can’t wait until we put together a full game to see how good we really are,” running back Storm Woods said.
OSU’s biggest problem remains penalties. The Beavers are 119th out of 120 for penalty yards a game at 89.8 and 116th in flags a game at 9.0.
“Some of them are inexcusable like celebration,” Riley said. “Then we’ll evaluate the holding and pass interference. In the first half (against WSU) we couldn’t sustain a drive. That’s hard to keep overcoming. We have to clean that up.”
Outside linebacker D.J. Welch (ankle) and receiver Markus Wheaton (foot) were the only players to come out of the Washington State game with injuries. They won’t practice Monday and are listed day-to-day.
Defensive end Rudolf Fifita was questionable against WSU after suffering a concussion the week before, but played a solid game.