Oregon St.-BYU Preview
After two years spent mostly watching from the sidelines,
quarterback Cody Vaz gets the start for No. 10 Oregon State this
Saturday when the Beavers travel to BYU.
It will be a challenging task for Vaz, who takes over after
starter Sean Mannion injured his left knee against Washington State
last weekend. Mannion had helped lead the Beavers to a 4-0 start
and their highest ranking since the 2001 Fiesta Bowl season.
Vaz has appeared in only five games in his career, completing
six of 17 passes for 48 yards. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound junior has
not played in a game since the 2010 season.
He hasn’t started since high school.
”I’m not really nervous, more so excited,” Vaz said. ”It’s a
great opportunity for our team. We’re going into a tough place to
play, a really good football team, a really good defensive team. It
will be a great opportunity for us.”
OK, really, no nerves?
”I can’t wait,” he said smiling. ”I can’t wait `til
The question is whether Vaz can lead a team that has experienced
a striking turnaround since finishing last season 3-9. Coach Mike
Riley said he has complete confidence in Vaz, but does have one
”The only unfortunate part is that I haven’t played him
enough,” he said Tuesday.
Oregon State visits Provo to face an independent BYU team that
is 4-2 but facing quarterback issues of its own. Cougars coach
Bronco Mendenhall announced Monday that freshman quarterback Taysom
Hill is out for the season after injuring his left knee in BYU’s
6-3 victory over Utah State last Friday night.
Hill was standing in for senior quarterback Riley Nelson, who
missed two games with what he described as ”back fractures.”
Nelson, who has thrown for 754 yards and five touchdowns with
five interceptions, is expected to play against the Beavers on
Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Mendenhall learned of Oregon State’s quarterback situation just
before the start of practice on Monday.
”Who knows what the fallout is. You have a good offensive
system in place that’s very consistent from year to year. How that
will be tailored all of a sudden to a new quarterback, I’m not
certain,” he said. ”We’ll prepare for what we know and then
adjust to what we don’t know or what we see on game day. That’s
really the best we can do.”
Mannion’s injury was a surprise, even to Riley. The 6-foot-5,
212-pound sophomore showed no sign of it during the Beavers’ 19-6
victory over Washington State, when he was injured on a handoff but
did not leave the game. He finished with 270 yards passing and a
At 9:45 a.m. on Monday morning, just as the team was about to go
into a meeting, the news hit.
”It was a total shock,” Riley said. ”The doctor and the
trainer came running down the hall. So I knew it wasn’t good.”
Mannion is expected to have surgery to repair meniscus damage in
his left knee as early as Wednesday. He will be week-to-week
following the procedure.
Mannion was averaging 339.5 yards passing a game, second in the
Pac-12 and sixth in the nation. He has thrown for 1,358 yards with
seven touchdowns and four interceptions this season. He is sixth on
Oregon State’s career list with 4,686 yards.
A classic drop-back passer with a calm demeanor and a good grasp
of the fundamentals, Mannion is the son of a high school football
coach. He is one of four team captains for Oregon State this
Last season as a redshirt freshman, Mannion unseated junior
starter Ryan Katz, who had started the 2010 season for the Beavers.
Katz has since transferred to San Diego State.
Vaz grew up in Lodi, Calif., and played at St. Mary’s High
School, where he was 24-5 in two seasons as the starter. He was the
Stockton Record’s player of the year his senior season.
Vaz’s backup going forward will be redshirt freshman quarterback
Richie Harrington, a walk-on.
Oregon State has not opened a season 5-0 since 1939.