Sean Mannion: Oregon State QB Puts Beavers on Radar with Breakout Game vs. UCLA

Richard LangfordCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2012

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Quarterback Sean Mannion #4 of the Oregon State Beavers throws a pass against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on September 22, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Oregon State sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion led his his Beavers to an impressive 27-20 win on the road against the No. 19 UCLA Bruins. 

This improves the Beavers to a perfect 2-0 with their other win coming over Wisconsin. It is clear that it is time for the Beavers to start being viewed as a legitimate top-25 team. 

With this win, they are virtually guaranteed a spot in the top 25 next week. They received the most votes of any non-top-25 team in the AP poll last week. 

Mannion is a huge reason why Oregon State is one of the season's early surprises. 

UCLA entered this game with a 3-0 record—which included a big win over Nebraska—and their revamped defense, under new head coach Jim Mora Jr., was a big reason why. 

Entering this game, the Bruins were allowing opposing QBs a passer rating of just 88.4 with seven interceptions to just two touchdowns. 

They couldn't force Mannion into similar mistakes. The 6'5" QB got off to a blazing start and kept it rolling. He finished by going 25-of-36 for 384 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 

While 15 of his completions, 325 yards and both touchdowns went to just two receivers, Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton, he did enough spreading around to keep the defense honest as his 10 other completions went to eight different receivers. 

Mannion is making good decisions and he is delivering the ball accurately. He has made nice strides in these areas since his freshman season. 

Last year, Mannion threw for over 3,300 yards and hit over 65 percent of his passes, but his touchdown-to-interception ratio of 16-18 showed his tendency to make crippling mistakes. 

Those lapses in judgment are dwindling. He now has just the one interception in his two games, and he is not doing this against weak, early-season opponents. 

The Beavers have a solid team on both sides of the ball, and with a QB playing at the level of Mannion, this team is going to enter the top 25 and stay there.