Beavers Look to Tame Cougars on the Palouse

Photo By: Karl Maasdam/Oregon State Athletics   10-08-2013

THIS WEEK: Oregon State (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) heads to Pullman to play the Washington State Cougars (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) this Saturday. The game is being televised nationally by ESPNU at 7:30 p.m.

FIRST TRIP TO PULLMAN: This the Beavers first trip to Pullman since No. 20 OSU defeated the Cougars 42-10 on a blustery Nov. 21, 2009 day in front of 16,167 fans. Two current Beavers played in that game: Michael Philipp started at right tackle and Jovan Stevenson, both true freshman, played running back accounting for 61 yards and a late fourth quarter touchdown on a three-yard run. Jacquizz Rodgers led the Beaver attack with 165 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Sean Canfield passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns. WSU leads the overall series 48-46-3, but OSU has won five of the last six, including a 44-21 win in 2011 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

LONG RIVALRY: The Beavs-Cougs rivalry is one of the lengthier ones in the Pac-12 Conference, ranking tied for sixth in terms of number of games played with 97. Here is a look at the most contested games – Civil War (116), Big Game (115), Apple Cup (105), UW vs. UO (105), Cal vs. USC (99), OSU vs. WSU (97), OSU vs. UW (97). This is the deepest into the season that the Beavers and Cougars have played with both teams boasting more wins than loses since an Oct. 25, 2003 meeting in Pullman that featured the No. 22 5-2 Beavers against the No. 6 6-1 Cougars – WSU won that game 36-30.

ROAD BEAVERS: OSU is currently in a stretch where it plays just one home game over a six-week span. Following Saturday’s game the Beavers finish the current span with a game at California. It’s the first time OSU has played three of its first four conference games on the road since the 1998 team opened the year with three away games. Following the game at Cal, the Beavers will have just one remaining trip that requires a charter flight (@ ASU), while all remaining Pac-12 teams have at least two with Utah, Colorado, USC and Arizona State each having three.

A LONG NIGHT IN THE PALOUSE: It figures to be a long night with two of the most prolific passing teams in the nation battling it out. OSU ranks second in the nation for passing yards per game at 420.7 while WSU is eighth at 359.7. The Beavers’ average would erase the current Pac-12 record of 373.4 yards per game by Arizona State in 2005 and would be the 11th-highest average in NCAA history. All of that means even a longer night for the Beavers as the team returned from earlier road games at Utah at 4:30 a.m. PDT (5:30 a.m. MDT) and 3 a.m. from San Diego State.

DOUBT IT’S LIKE LAST YEAR: It doesn’t figure to be a 19-6 game like last season when the Beavers prevailed at home over WSU. The teams combined for 597 net yards on a sunny day at Reser Stadium. It was a game of turnovers as WSU had five and OSU three, and the Beavers had the ball most of the day with a time of possession of 39:15. Sean Mannion passed for 270 yards on 25 of 42, but was intercepted three times. OSU CB Jordan Poyer, now a Philadelphia Eagle, had three of four  interceptions of the Cougar QB duo of Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday.  

SET AGAINST THE COUGARS: Several school records and milestones have been set by the Beavers against WSU in the long history of the rivalry. Here is a closer look:
o    Rush Tds (4) in a game – achieved six times, the first by Pete Pifer in 1966 at Pullman
o    100-yard rushers vs. WSU – Roger Smith (210/1971); Ken Carpenter (184/1949); Ken Simonton (169/2000); Jacquizz Rodgers (168/2008 & 165/2009); Tony Robinson (157/1979); Dave Schilling (139/1970); Bill Enyart (137/1968); Pete Pifer (126/1966 & 114/1965); Sam Baker (114/1952); Nub Beamer (114/1957); Joe Francis (109/1955 & 102/1957); Dick Twenge (108/1948); Ralph Carr (107/1953); Charlie Smith (105/1974); Randy Holmes (104/1981); Ryan Cole (104/2004); Malcolm Agnew (103/2011); J.J. Young (100/1994).
o    Longest Punt – 80 yds – Coquelle Thompson 1930 vs. WSU in Portland
o    TDs Passing One Half  –  4 (by 4 diff players), Scott Richardson in Corvallis Nov, 3, 1979
o    TDs Receiving One Half – 3, Steve Coury in Corvallis, Nov. 3, 1979
o    Fewest First Downs by OSU – 1, Nov. 20, 1937 in Corvallis
o    Most Points in a Loss – 42, Nov. 3, 1979 in Corvallis

HIGH SCHOOL REUNION… of sorts for Beaver linebacker coach Trent Bray. Bray was a standout at Pullman High School being named the Great Northern League Defensive Player of the Year as a junior (1999) and senior (2000). He also lettered in basketball and baseball. Bray lettered four years for the Beavers (2002-05) at linebacker starting 34 games, twice earning Pac-10 All-Conference honors and was named the 2004 Insight Bowl Defensive MVP after making 10 tackles in the win over Notre Dame. Trent’s father, Craig Bray, was an assistant coach for Dennis Erickson and Mike Price at WSU and John L. Smith at Idaho, and again with Erickson at OSU among other stops.

OPPORTUNISTIC SECONDARIES: The two most opportunistic secondaries in the league will be on the same field Saturday as Washington State leads the Pac-12 for interceptions with nine and Oregon State is second with eight. Both figure to have plenty of opportunities to bolster those statistics this week as if the averages hold up there will be 104 pass attemps.

BEAVS AT 101: USC owns the most victories in the Pac-12 Conference this century with 130 (106 with vacated wins), followed by Oregon (127), OSU (101), UCLA (90), Arizona State (88), Cal (87), Stanford (87), Washington (74), Arizona (71), WSU (70).  Utah has 112 victories this century and Colorado has 69. The Beavers hit the 100-win plateau this century in the Oct. 21 win at San Diego State. The previous 100-win stretch started during the 1966 season, ending with 1999 – nearly 34 seasons (365 games). This century’s 100 victories were achieved in just over 13 seasons (168 games).

IT’S ANOTHER BEAVER FIRST DOWN:  While receiver Brandin Cooks generates most of the headlines in terms of Beaver receivers, quarterback Sean Mannion has spread the wealth with key connections to fellow wideouts Richard Mullaney and Kevin Cummings. Mullaney has secured a first down or touchdown on 19 of his 25 receptions while Cummings has done the same on 8 of his 12.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Oregon State has had four Pac-12 Players of the Week so far this season, the most in the league. Quarterback Sean Mannion earned the offensive player of the week recognition after passing for an OSU record six touchdown passes against Colorado and prior to that a 443-yard five score effort at Utah. Mannion also has been named the Manning Award Player of the Week twice (the same games). Cornerback Steven Nelson earned the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award after returning an interception 16 yards for a touchdown with 2:31 left in the win at San Diego State. Kicker Trevor Romaine made all three of his field goal attempts and had five touchbacks in the win at Utah earning him Special Teams Player of the Week. Mannion has been selected for the weekly conference honor four times in his career, Romaine twice and Nelson once.

CARDIAC BEAVERS: Oregon State and Georgia lead the nation with each having three games decided by four points or less to this point in the season. Over the last 18 games, OSU has played in games with a margin of four points or less eight times, winning four.

PICK SIX: Cornerbacks Steven Nelson and Sean Martin both have interceptions for touchdowns this season. Nelson’s 16-yard return against San Diego State with 2:16 provided the winning points in 34-30 win at Qualcomm Stadium. Martin returned a third-quarter pass 27 yards in OSU’s 51-48 overtime victory at Utah. The two interception returns for touchdowns rank as the most for a Beaver defense since Greg Laybourn and Al Afalava each scored in 2008 games.  The Beavers haven’t had three in a season since 2007 (Derrick Doggett, Gerard Lawson, Joey LaRocque).

TARGET RICH ENVIRONMENT: Oregon State has completed 165 passes this season in five games, while WSU has 207 in six games. The Beavers’ 165 completions is the fourth-most among teams that have played five games, while the Cougars 207 leads the nation overall (OSU would be second with 198 if it had played 6 games with its average).  

420.6: The number of average yards the Beavers have passed for over the first five games, second in the nation, behind only Baylor at 432.3. The team is on pace for 5,047 yards for a 12-game season and at the current average the Beavers would break the school record of 4,265 by 782 yards (2003 – 4,265). The Pac-12 record is 4,501 yards by Washington in 2002. OSU is second in the nation for overall passing yards with 2,103 while WSU is first with 2,158.

STARTERS DOWN: The Beavers enter this week missing potentially four starters. Starting linebacker Michael Doctor broke his foot and will be out at least to the latter half of the season. The senior co-captain played immediately upon arrival to the team, thus has a redshirt year available. He led the team for tackles last year with 83. Starting right guard Roman Sapolu suffered a fracture dislocation in his foot and is out for the year. Unlike Doctor, Sapolu did redshirt his first season in 2010 and at this point a medical redshirt year is unavailable. Starting right guard/tackle Grant Enger is expected to return to the lineup this week after missing the last three games with a sprained knee. Running back Storm Woods suffered a concussion against Utah and is also likely to return this week. Longsnapper Michael Morovick, while technically not a starter, is also out of the year after suffering an ACL tear against San Diego State.

OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLE: Oregon State offensive line, thought to be a position of depth in the spring, has become thinner throughout camp and into the early part of the season. Four starters returned and the Beavers were expected to start highly regarded sophomore Gavin Andrews at the one open spot, right tackle. However, Andrews was diagnosed with mono the week before the season started forcing a shuffle along the line. Grant Enger, who was slated to start at right guard, moved to right tackle and junior Roman Sapolu took over at right guard. In addition, returning center Isaac Seumalo was unable to play in the season opener due to a bruised knee forcing sophomore Josh Mitchell into the lineup during Week 1. Heading into Week 2, Seumalo, a freshman All-American, returned to the starting lineup to anchor the line. However in OSU’s win over Hawai’i Enger sprained his left knee and missed three games (he is expected to return this week) and Sapolu suffered a foot injury and will miss the rest of the season. At San Diego State, Mitchell injured an ankle that left him sidelined and forced another shuffle along the line. Last game against Colorado, the Beavers started Michael Philipp (LT), Josh Andrews (LG) and Seumalo (C) – their usual positions, although Seumalo has started two games at right tackle this year – with redshirt freshman Grant Bays at right guard and true freshman Sean Harlow at right tackle. OSU’s line has been further diminished with the prolonged recoveries of Justin Addie (concussion) and Garrett Weinreich (knee injury suffered in August 2012). In addition, the retirement early in fall camp of David Keller (concussions), who was expected be the top back-up at guard, and Chase Eldredge (knee) during the summer further complicates the situation. Following the bye week, the Beavers welcome by Gavin Andrews and Enger against Washington State. See the full chart in the pdf above.

PROTECTING THE PASSER: The Beavers’ have come under scrutiny, particularly the offensive line, for the lack of production in the rushing game. What hasn’t been recognized is the line’s protection of the quarterbacks. Through five games the Beavers have allowed just six sacks (1 every 41 pass attempts). At the current rate OSU would allow just 14 sacks for the regular season. Last year the Beavers allowed a sack on every 15 pass attempts and 33 overall for the year.

30 POINTS-PLUS: Oregon State has scored 30-plus points in all five games this season, the longest streak since 2000 when it strung together nine in a row. OSU is on pace to shatter the school record for points scored in any season – currently on track for 499 points for a 12-game regular season – the record is 433 points in a 13-game slate in 2003.

IT’S EARLY, BUT JUST SAYING: Quarterback Sean Mannion’s current 67.2 percent completion percentage (160-238) is flirting with the OSU record setting pace for a single season. Sean Canfield in the 2009 season hit on 67.9 (303-446) percent and is the current record holder for a single season. Canfield (2006-09) also holds the career completion percentage record at 64.1 percent (552-861) – Mannion is currently at a 65.2 percent (665-1020).

NOT BAD FOR A JUNIOR: Sean Mannion has completed 665 passes, which ranks third-best in the NCAA for junior quarterbacks behind Taylor Heinicke of Old Dominion (first-year FBS school) with 787 and Rakeem Cato of Marshall with 697. Mannion’s 7,792 passing yards is second for junior quarterbacks trailing only Heinicke’s 9,549. Mannion is the active leader in the Pac-12 for career yards with 7,792 (Keith Price of UW is second with 7,349). He is 28th overall in the Pac-12 record book for yards and will soon pass -- 27. Jim Plunkett (Stan/1968-70/7,809); 26. Jack Thompson (WSU/1975-78/7,818; 25. Kyle Boller (Cal/1999-2002/7,980); 24. Troy Taylor (Cal/1986-89/8,126); 23. Rodney Peete (USC/1985-88/8,225); 22. Danny O’Neil (UO/1991-94/8,301); 21. Bill Musgrave (UO/1987-90/8,343).

NOT BAD FOR A JUNIOR II: Sean Mannion not only is escalating the Pac-12 record book for career yards passing, but also for career touchdowns passing. He is currently tied for 35th in the Pac-12 record book with former Beaver Erik Wilhelm (1985-88) with 52.  Mannion is No. 2 on the active list for TD passes by a Pac-12 quarterback chasing Washington’s Keith Price (65). If he hits his average four TD passes per game Saturday, will jump all the way into the top 25 all-time for the league.

MORE MANNION: Junior quarterback Sean Mannion now has 7,792 yards; fourth all-time at OSU. The junior co-captain needs to average 227 yards per game for the rest of the regular season to catch third-place holder Erik Wilhelm (1985-88) at 9,383 yards. At his current average for the season he would move all the way to No. 2 in OSU history trailing only Derek Anderson’s (2001-04) career total of 11,249. To catch Anderson he needs to average 182 yards over the next 19 regular season games of his career. Also, at his current average he would end his career with 15,460 yards, shattering the Pac-12 record of Matt Barkley (12,274) by 3,186 yards. He is the only quarterback in Beaver history to pass for 350-plus yards in five games straight (current). He leads the nation for touchdown passes with 21, including a school-record 6 TD game vs. Colorado earlier this season.

MANNION TO COOKS, TOUCHDOWN BEAVERS: Through the five games of the season, quarterback Sean Mannion and receiver Brandin Cooks have combined for nine touchdown passes. The duo has now connected 16 times during their careers for scores, the second-highest combination in Beaver history. Erik Wilhelm and Robb Thomas combined 17 times during their run in the mid-late 1980s. Cooks co-leads the nation (Eric Thomas, Troy) for touchdown receptions.

COOKS CRACKS RECORD BOOK: Junior receiver Brandin Cooks is already sixth at OSU for career receiving yards with 2,349. He is sixth at OSU for career touchdown receptions with 17 and eighth for career receptions with 150. Cooks tied the OSU record for single game receptions (Mike Hass vs. ASU in 2004) with 14 against San Diego State earlier this season.

RESER RECORD: Oregon State’s home record of 61-22 this century at Reser Stadium is third best in the Pac-12 Conference, trailing the home records of only Oregon (71-13) and USC (65-15).

NFL COACHING EXPERIENCE: Oregon State coaches have a combined 42 years of full-time NFL coaching experience. Mike Riley (4 years), Mark Banker (3), Bruce Read (7), Danny Langsdorf (3), Mike Cavanaugh (2) and Rod Perry (23), In addition, running backs coach Chris Brasfield served two years as an intern and two seasons as a scout in the NFL. Graduate assistants coaches Kyle DeVan (tight ends) and Keaton Kristick (linebackers) played in the NFL - DeVan for the five years with the Jets, Colts (Super Bowl starter), Eagles and Titans; and Kristick for two years with the 49ers.

RILEY’S RIGHT-HAND GUYS: Oregon State has been fairly stable in terms of assistant coaches, particularly at the coordinator positions. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker has been on the staff since 2003 in his current role (served 1997-98 seasons as secondary coach); he has the second longest tenure as the defensive coordinator at one school (Buddy Green, Navy, 12 years). Banker was also with Riley for the 1999-2001 seasons with the Chargers (Def. Coord.) and in 1996 at USC. Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf  has been in his role since 2004 (was a G.A. for TE in 1997-98) and was with the Saints with Riley for the 2002 season.

SCHOOL RECORD COACH: Mike Riley continues to build on his school record for victories, now with 85. The longest tenured coach in the Pac-12 has 54 league wins, which is tied for 13th in the league’s history book with James Owens (UW – 1957-74). His next Pac-12 win will tie him for 12th with Bruce Snyder (Cal 1987-91 & ASU 1992-2000). For more on Riley turn to his bio in this notes package.  Riley is the longest tenured coach in the Pac-12 with 13 years at OSU; the rest of the league includes Kyle Whittingham, Utah (9 yrs), Steve Sarkisian, UW (5), David Shaw, Stanford (3), Todd Graham, ASU (2), Mike Leach, WSU (2), Rich Rodriguez, Arizona (2), Sonny Dykes, Cal (first), Mark Helfrich, Oregon (first), Mike MacIntyre, Colorado (first) and Ed Orgeron, USC (first).

RE-BEAVED: During the offseason the Beavers re-beaved thanks to Nike, introducing a new brand in March. The new brand includes a new logo, plus several uniform combos. Football also sports three helmet designs.

ONE OF SIX: Third-year athletic trainer Ariko Iso (uh-REE-ko E-so) is one of only six female head football trainers in the FBS - Jennifer Brodeur at Massachusetts, Laurie Fincher at UAB, Dawn Hearn at UTEP, Kelli Pugh at Virginia and Mary Vander Heiden at Central Florida are the others. Iso joined the program in late spring of 2011 after being the only female athletic trainer in the NFL (Steelers).

TEAM CAPTAINS: The 2013 team captains are seniors Rashaad Reynolds (CB), Michael Doctor (LB), Grant Enger (OG), and juniors Brandin Cooks (WR) and Sean Mannion (QB). Mannion has been selected for the second straight season – no Beaver has ever been a three-year team captain.

WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE, WIN THE GAME: Over the last 117 games, Oregon State is 45-9 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 11-31 when committing more and 12-9 when even.

74-9: That’s the record of Oregon State when it leads after three quarters with Mike Riley as head coach. Since the start of the 2004 season it is 55-5.

100-PLUS USUALLY A W: When a Beaver rushes for 100-plus yards it usually equals a victory.  OSU has won 26 of its last 31 games (84%) when a rusher gains 100 – the only five losses in that period -- Oct. 2, 2008 at Utah (Jacquizz Rodgers 101 yds), Oct. 24, 2009 at USC (Jacquizz 113), Oct. 16, 2010 at Washington (Jacquizz 140), Sept. 3, 2011 vs. Sacramento State (Malcolm Agnew 223) and Dec. 29, 2012 vs. Texas (Storm Woods 118).

BOWL HISTORY: Starting with the 1999 season, Oregon State has appeared in 10 bowl games – tied for the third-most in the league. Oregon has 13 appearances, followed by Utah (11), OSU (10), USC (10), UCLA (10), Arizona State (9), Cal (8), Washington (7), Stanford (6), Colorado (6), Arizona (4) and Washington State (3).

FRESH FACES: Three true freshmen for the Beavers in the season opener - WR/KR Victor Bolden, OL Sean Harlow and LB Darrell Songy. Bolden has been the Beavers’ primary kick returner, returning 19 for 365 yards. Bolden has also carried the ball three times for six yards on the fly sweep and has two receptions for 23 yards. Songy is second on the team with three special teams tackles ... in addition, 13 others played for the first time with the Beavers including JC transfers DT Edwin Delva, DT Siale Hautau and CB Steven Nelson and redshirt freshmen OG Grant Bays, RB Chris Brown, WR Blair Cavanaugh, WR Malik Gilmore, OL Nolan Hansen, LS Harrison Linsky, LB Rommel Mageo, LS Andrew Maughan, LB Cyril Noland-Lewis, FB Ricky Ortiz, S Zack Robinson, LB Caleb Saulo, TE Dustin Stanton, DT Noke Tago and OL Garrett Weinreich.

TRUE “STUDENT-ATHLETES” Oregon State is routinely among the league leaders for Pac-12 academic selections and this year should be no different. The following players will graduate in December: OL Josh Andrews (sociology); WR Kevin Cummings (marketing); LB Michael Doctor (human development/family studies); OL Grant Enger (entrepreneurship); WR Micah Hatfield (human development/family studies); QB Sean Mannion (liberal studies); CB Sean Martin (new media); OL Michael Philipp (public health); CB Rashaad Reynolds (human development/family studies); RB Jovan Stevenson (sociology). Graduates in March include DL John Braun (sociology); LB Charlie Gilmur (marketing); DL Devon Kell (public health); WR Mitch Singler (marketing); QB Cody Vaz (sociology). June graduates include S Steven Christian (master of arts in interdisciplinary studies); P Tim McMullen (exercise & sport science); DL Mana Rosa (psychology).

WOODCHIPS: OSU and Eastern Washington each scored 40-plus points, the first time both teams scored that many in an OSU game since 1999 against Georgia Southern (OSU win 48-41) – that was again achieved in the Beavers 51-48 overtime win at Utah … both the Hawai’I and Utah games required an ambulance on the field for an injured player, in both instances the players were released from the hospital that day/night ... DL Jalen Grimble’s cousin, Xavier Grimble, plays tight end for USC … QB Cody Vaz missed much of the first bye week practice session due to dropping an 85-pound weight on his foot.