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Oregon State gets bad news ahead of matchup against Washington State, Air Raid offense

Idaho State wide receiver KW Williams, center, has a pass knocked away by Oregon State cornerback Dwayne Williams during the second half of a game in 2016. Williams is one of two OSU corners who will miss Saturday’s game against Washington State because of injury. (Timothy J. Gonzalez / AP)
Idaho State wide receiver KW Williams, center, has a pass knocked away by Oregon State cornerback Dwayne Williams during the second half of a game in 2016. Williams is one of two OSU corners who will miss Saturday’s game against Washington State because of injury. (Timothy J. Gonzalez / AP)

Facing Luke Falk and the Washington State Air Raid is a daunting task as is, but now the Oregon State Beavers will have to do it without two of their starting cornerbacks.

Xavier Crawford and Dwayne Williams were injured in OSU’s 48-14 loss to Minnesota and both will be shelved when the Beavers come to Pullman this Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. Pac-12 opener against the Cougars, the school announced on Tuesday.

Crawford hurt his shoulder during the Minnesota game, while Williams sustained a knee injury. Both players missed the second half at Reser Stadium and it appears one of the two will be on the IR much longer than the other. The Oregonian reported that Williams, a junior, will miss the remainder of the season.

“Losing your top two corners … is that tough? Absolutely,” Beavers coach Gary Andersen said Tuesday during the Pac-12 teleconference. “But we did that last game.”

Losing Crawford means the Beavers are without a 12-game starter from 2016 who tied for the team lead with 10 passes defended and ranked fourth in tackles. Crawford was pegged a freshman All-American by four organizations and was named to Athlon’s Pac-12 All-Freshman team. Williams has made 11 career starts.

The Beaver secondary will be without another defensive playmaker during the first half at Martin Stadium. Safety Jalen Moore was ejected for targeting in the second half against the Golden Gophers and therefore is only eligible to return to the field after halftime. Moore is third on OSU with 21 tackles this season.

“Some young men need to step up and play,” Andersen said. “Timing’s not great when you’re playing Washington State in that situation, the way they throw the football. But it’s an opportunity for some young kids to step up.”

Falk’s been nothing short of spectacular in his three appearances against the Beavers. During his first-ever start, the WSU quarterback was 44-for-61 with 475 yards and five touchdowns. A year later, in 2015, he was 39-for-50 with 407 yards and six touchdowns and followed that up by going 33-for-46 with 415 yards and five touchdowns last season.