The best red zone defense in college football resided in Corvallis last season.

Oregon State led the country in red zone scoring percentage. BeaverBlitz’s Carter Bahns pointed out that little nugget on Twitter earlier this week. On 42 trips opponents made to the red zone, Oregon State allowed only 28 total scores. That percentage (66.7%) was the best allowed rate in the country.

The Beavers also led the Pac-12 in touchdown rate allowed. Twenty of those 42 trips ended in seven points for the other side, a percentage (47.6%) that ranked 16th nationally.

The Beaver defense was a huge piece of its 10-3 season. They had a top-20 scoring defense (20 points per game) and led the Pac-12 in pass efficiency (yards per play), defensive efficiency (yards per play), and run defense (yards per game).

It’s a crew that will need to replace some significant pieces in 2023, though. Leading tackler Omar Speights transferred to LSU and fellow inside linebacker Kyrei Fisher-Morris has exhausted his eligibility. The secondary will also need to replace key contributors Jaydon Grant, Alex Austin, and Rejzohn Wright.

But if coach Jonathan Smith has proven anything during his tenure in Corvallis, it’s that he can develop.