No starting quarterback?
That's been Oregon State's apparent response to the benching of Sean Mannion, who lost his starting job to junior Cody Vaz after tossing four picks in the Beavers' shocking loss to the University of Washington on October 27th.
Vaz, who started two games while Mannion recovered from knee surgery, was thrown into the fire during the Washington game, but did enough to earn the No. 1 spot by throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to Connor Hamlett, and he looked even better against Arizona State on Saturday.
Despite his lack of experience, Vaz appears poised to lead the No. 13 Beavers to a BCS Bowl appearance, and he made a statement with his performance against the Sun Devils.
No, it wasn't a perfect game for the Lodi, California native, but it was more than good enough to get the Beavers an all-important victory after a stunning defeat the week prior.
Via CBS Sports:
Vaz appeared unsure of himself, but the Beavers' next drive ended with Trevor Romaine's 41-yard field goal. Arizona State answered with Cameron Marshall's 1-yard scoring run for a 14-3 lead.
Vaz bounced back with a 50-yard scoring pass to Markus Wheaton, but then Arizona State got a safety on a blocked punt for a 16-10 lead. The Sun Devils added a 31-yard field goal from Jon Mora.
In the end, Vaz finished with three touchdown passes, despite completing only 14 of his 33 passes, but he managed to find the end zone when it mattered most.
In the third quarter, with the game tied, Vaz found Markus Wheaton for a 17-yard score to but the Beavers ahead for good, and then the junior hit Brandin Cooks for a 49-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach midway through the fourth.
Now, with the Beavers set to take on No. 14 Stanford next Saturday, Vaz will have an opportunity to punch Oregon State's ticket to a BCS Bowl, which would be a big accomplishment for a team that hasn't had a winning season since 2009.
If his first three starts are any indication of what's to come, he'll deliver.
And once he does, the Beavers will be receiving the school's second-ever invitation to a BCS Bowl game, and first since the 2001 Fiesta Bowl.