The No. 10 Oregon State Beavers have gotten off to a surprising 4-0 start as well as a 3-0 record in the Pac-12. After having their first game of the 2012 college football season postponed, Oregon State rattled off four straight impressive wins that would not have seen them favored in to start the season.
But after knocking off the Wisconsin Badgers, UCLA Bruins, Arizona Wildcats and Washington State Cougars, the Beavers were dealt their first bit of bad news in 2012.
Staring quarterback Sean Mannion, who helped Oregon State get off to one of the best starts in school history, will now have to undergo surgery on his knee after injuring it in Saturday’s 19-6 win over the Cougars. Mannion will be sorely missed, as the Beavers currently rank as the eighth best team in the nation in terms of passing yards. Considering the Beavers have not been able to run the ball at all, they relied on the arm of Mannion. But with their starting quarterback out indefinitely, Oregon State will now turn to Cody Vaz when they take on the BYU Cougars this Saturday.
Oregon State could get past BYU with Vaz under center. The Cougars are an inconsistent team who can score 48 points one week and then just six the next. They are terribly frustrating to play against and plan for, as you just don’t know which team you are going to face.
But Mannion has completed 107 of 169 passes for 1,358 yards and 7 touchdowns. He did struggle a bit in his last game, throwing three of his four interceptions in that game. But he has clearly been the team’s bets player on offense and is the main reason why the Beavers have gotten off to such a surprisingly hot start.
Mannion had an MRI on Sunday, but no details were provided about the nature of his injury. Oregon State head coach Mike Riley said that Mannion will require surgery, but added no further details on the timing of the surgery or recovery. But while BYU is a game that the Beavers can win, it does not mean that they will. Whether they do or not, the schedule begins to get much more difficult in Pac-12 play.
If the Beavers can get past BYU on the road this Saturday, they should be able to ride that momentum past the Utah Utes the following week at home. After that is when the sailing gets a lot more rough, especially if Mannion is not back under center at that point.
Oregon State will have a tough three game stretch, having to face the Washington Huskies and Stanford Cardinal on the road with a home game against the Arizona State Sun Devils sandwiched in between. All three opponents have winning records overall and are at or above .500 in conference play in the Pac-12.
The Beavers may be off to a great start, but in order to keep it going, they will need to count on a back up quarterback who has not seen the field since 2010, in a game in which he completed just six of 17 passes for 48 yards.
If that is what they are going to get going forward, Oregon State can kiss their undefeated record good bye sooner rather than later.