Oregon State Football: Beavers Must Start Sean Mannion vs. Oregon

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 27:  Quarterback Sean Mannion #4 of the Oregon State Beavers rolls out to pass against the Washington Huskies on October 27, 2012 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

After a masterful performance against California, Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion earned the privilege of starting the Civil War.

Oregon State’s signal-caller threw for 325 yards and four touchdowns in a 62-14 romp. He dismantled a porous Bears defense as he should, slinging a touchdown to four different receivers.

He displayed accuracy and poise that was missing in their loss to Washington, where Mannion threw four interceptions and just over 50 percent completion rate.

Mannion had been dealing with a shoulder injury for six weeks and seemed to come back a bit early in the Washington loss. He sat out another two weeks to heal and looked in regular season form versus Cal.

Frankly if Mannion merely managed the game to a win, he would’ve kept the starting job. No reason to flip-flop quarterbacks after a win.

Now, whispers from the Beaver faithful that junior Cody Vaz should man the Beaver offense are yesterday’s news.

But the sophomore did one better. He will take the momentum into their home building and give Oregon a competitive game. The Beavers have their best shot in years to unseat the Ducks if they can hang with them in the second half.

The proof is in the Stanford-Oregon result this past Saturday. The Ducks showed their hand in their first close game this season—Stanford outworked them in the trenches and rendered their spread attack into vanilla yogurt.

His team will have all the reason to play spoiler in the Civil War. The Ducks have a small chance to still play in the Pac-12 championship game with a Stanford loss to UCLA.

Behind Mannion, the Beaver offense has the game film to keep up with the Ducks' offense for some time.

But it will ultimately come down to the defense. If Oregon State can stop Kenjon Barner and Co. early on, the Beaver offense has more experience to come away with a close game.