QB Sean Mannion sustained a knee injury vs. Washington State that required surgery.
The No. 8 Oregon State Beavers have been able to keep their undefeated record intact thus far, but they'll need their leader back under center to have a serious shot at the Pac-12 title.
UPDATE: Monday, Oct. 22 at 4:30 p.m. ET by Tim Keeney
Well, that was quick. It was originally thought that Mannion could miss a large chunk of playing time, but after just two weeks, Mike Riley has stated that the sophomore QB will make his return this Saturday (via the Corvallis Gazette-Times' Cliff Kirkpatrick):
Riley made it official after Monday's practice, Mannion is the starter Saturday. More later.— Cliff Kirkpatrick (@CliffGT) October 22, 2012
Cody Vaz did his job under center and kept the Beavers undefeated, but getting Mannion back is a huge boost for the No. 7 team in the country.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Monday, Oct. 22 at 2:01 p.m. ET by Rob Goldberg
According to Angie Machado of BeaverBlitz.com, Sean Mannion will return to the field as starter this weekend.
Sources close to program say Riley will go back with Sean Mannion as starting QB this week vs. Washington. Practice kicks off at 11 today.— Angie Machado (@AngieMachado1) October 22, 2012
Oregon State has won two straight games with Cody Vaz at quarterback, but Mannion is the clear-cut No. 1 on the depth chart.
The Beavers are currently No. 7 in the BCS standings and are trying to maintain an undefeated record.
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 18 at 4:30 p.m. ET by Mike Shiekman
The Oregon State quarterback looks to be returning as early as this Saturday, The Oregonian's Lindsay Schnell reports:
Mannion will dress on Saturday, and says he'll be elbowing Richie Harrington out of the way of the way if a backup is called up vs Utah.— Lindsay Schnell (@LindsayRae19) October 18, 2012
Richie Harrington, watch out for those 'bows. The Mannion news will be a significant boost for Oregon State's offense, as they have a difficult stretch of Pac-12 games upcoming.
--End of update--
UPDATE: Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 4:05 p.m. ET by Tim Keeney
The Oregonian's Lindsay Schnell gives a confirmation of the details surrounding Mannion's injury and recovery time:
OSU team doctor confirms Mannion's injury is a left meniscus, says Mannion will have surgery in Corvallis. Says he's week-to-week.— Lindsay Schnell (@LindsayRae19) October 9, 2012
It appears as though Oregon State fans will have to get used to Cody Vaz. The junior certainly has the talent to step in for Mannion under center, but his lack of experience won't put to rest many concerns.
---End of update---
The Beavers' 4-0 start to the season will be tested this week when they travel to Provo to take on a solid 4-2 BYU squad, and to make things worse, they'll be without Mannion (according to head coach Mike Riley, via KEZI 9 Sports' Stephen Nelson):
BREAKING: Mike Riley announces QB Sean Mannion will have surgery on his knee. Out an undisclosed amount of time. #GoBeavs— Stephen Nelson (@Stephen__Nelson) October 8, 2012
Riley also revealed how Mannion got the injury:
This is a huge blow for Mike Riley's squad.
Mannion was on his way to a huge season: 63.3 completion percentage, 1,358 passing yards (339.5 per game), seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Extrapolate those numbers out to a full season, and the youngster would throw for 5,432 yards and 21 touchdowns.
To be fair, Oregon State has other weapons capable of stepping up in Mannion's stead.
Freshman running back Storm Woods, who has totaled 341 rushing yards on just under five yards per carry, looks like a future star. Veteran wideout Markus Wheaton is one of the more underrated offensive players in the league. And if all else fails, don't forget that Oregon State's defense is ranked 18th in the country in terms of points and 34th in terms of yards.
Still, though, it's hard not to make a big deal out of this.
How many games will the Beavers win this season?
The Beavers will be going from the second-most prolific QB in the Pac 12 (in terms of yards per game) to junior Cody Vaz, who has completed 35 percent of his 17 career collegiate pass attempts.
Although Vaz impressed during spring and fall camps, it's hard for someone with such little experience to jump right into the lion's den and continue leading a Top-10 team to victories.
After BYU, the Beavers host Utah, travel to Washington and host Arizona before going to Stanford to take on the Cardinal.
It's unknown how long Mannion will be sidelined, but if he misses those games, the Beavers are going to be in a world of trouble.