Xavier Crawford and OSU defense faces a new-look UCLA offense

Cassidy Wood, Multimedia Contributor

The Oregon State football team currently has twelve straight losses on the road.  Their last win was against Colorado, at Colorado, in 2014.  The Beavers hope to break this streak, as they travel to Los Angeles this weekend to face the UCLA Bruins. 

Both teams have one conference win respectfully, and both teams are using backup quarterbacks. UCLA has turned to Mike Falufa to replace the injured Josh Rosen, and Oregon State is using Marcus McMaryion following injuries to Darell Garretson and Conor Blount. 

Defensive coordinator Kevin Clune stated in Wednesday’s practice that his team was able to learn a lot from their last game against Stanford where despite giving up 26 points, only allowed two touchdowns.

“For the most part, we did a great job,” said Clune.  “There are a lot of things to be proud of; those kids battled hard.  But it wasn’t perfect.  We are still looking for the perfect game; we are still looking to improve.  That game against Stanford is definitely something we can build off of.”

Looking towards UCLA, the defense has been preparing for more of a passing offense.  The Bruins currently average 319.9 yards in the air per game, despite being without Rosen.

“They have a good throw game,” said Clune.  “The receiving core is very good; the tight ends have had some productive games this season.”    

Freshman cornerback Xavier Crawford was brought up consistently throughout this week.  This is his first season in division 1 play, and he has proven to be a very dependable defensive back for the Beavers.  

“I have seen Xavier accept every challenge that I’ve put in front of him,” said cornerback coach Cory Hall.  “Right now, he is the only one in my room that has shown a level of toughness that is rare out there in the corner position.  He came in, after sitting for such a long time, and developed a lot faster than I expected.”

Crawford was redshirted last year, which allowed time for him to perfect things both physically and mentally before entering such competitive play.

“The year for Xavier was good,” Andersen said.  “He took advantage of it in the weight room; he studied film.  Now, he is a young man that is way ahead of himself.”

The freshman had multiple tackles on Heisman contender Christian McCaffrey in the game against Stanford, and his coaches believe that he will be a dominant player in future games and years to come.

“(Xavier) has made some big plays this season,” said head coach Gary Andersen.  “Against Stanford, he snapped off a block at the goal line and got McCaffrey on the ground at about the 5-yard line. That’s a hard play, against a really good player, and he made it.  I expect him to play a big role on this team for the next three years.”

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