Eastern Washington - Oregon State TV viewer guide
Game day: August 31, 3 p.m. PT
Stadium: Reser Stadium - Corvallis, Ore.
Eastern Washington - Oregon State TV information: Pac-12 Networks
Story lines: Cody Vaz or Sean Mannion? Sean Mannion or Cody Vaz? Mike Riley says Mannion for the season opener, temporarily putting the QB competition to rest. Quarterback controversies can be a stressful thing for a program, but perhaps they’re a little less so in the case of Oregon State, which has two guys who have proven they can win in the Pac-12. Sean Mannion started last year strong, leading the Beavs to a 4-0 record that included wins against two ranked teams (Wisconsin and UCLA) before it became all about Vaz Nation after Cody led Oregon State to an 18-point win at BYU. It was all part of a 6-0 start and 9-4 season that saw the Beavers make a bowl game for the first time in three seasons.
This game against Eastern Washington will be the first look of the new season at Sean Mannion, the starter for that game. He'll have some nice protection up front, taking the snap from 2013 Rimington Watch List center Isaac Seumalo. No more speedy Markus Wheaton, but Vaz/Mannion/both of ‘em will still have a proven 1,000-yard receiver to throw to in Brandin Cooks. The offensive weapons and protection will still be there, including in the backfield. You know how the Beavers put an emphasis on finding a running game leading in to 2012? Well, they found their solution in the form of Storm Woods and Terron Ward, and that 1-2 punch will bring their combined 1,355 rushing yards between them from last year back to Reser Stadium.
[Related: 2013 Oregon State football schedule]
Beavers fans might look at that 2013 schedule and say, “Hey, we have a real shot at starting 7-0, and who knows what can happen from there?” But no team can be taken lightly even with an FCS school like Eastern Washington. Surely the Oregon State faithful don’t need to be reminded of the 2011 season opener, but that Sacramento State team hails from the same conference (Big Sky) that the Eagles play in. And, while Eastern Washington is probably best known for its red turf, it's a very good team by FCS standards and it's coming to Corvallis to win. The Eagles handily beat FBS Idaho and kept it very close with Washington State to start off last season before making a run to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs and losing a barnburner to Sam Houston State. Having a huge game in that semifinal loss was quarterback Vernon Adams, who has been named to the CFPA Quarterback Award watch list. With his team down 35-0 at the half, Adams threw for 364 second-half yards to help the Eagles pile up 42 points over the final 30 minutes to nearly pull off a ridiculous upset.
So yeah, the Eagles have some talent and a good pedigree. Isaiah Trufant, brother of recent Husky Desmond Trufant, went there before embarking upon a professional career that now has him with the New York Jets. And remember UCLA safety Tevin McDonald? Well, he transferred there in the spring. The Beavers will face much bigger name opponents than Eastern Washington, but these Eagles will make Oregon State earn it.
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