Seven home games, including an October Thursday night contest at Reser Stadium, highlight the 2014 football season schedule as announced Wednesday by the Pac-12 Conference.
The Beavers, coming off a 7-6 campaign and the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl title, open the year with three non-conference games followed by playing three of the first four Pac-12 games on the road, but finishing with four of five at home. The Beavers could have scheduled a 13th regular season game since they travel to Hawai’i per NCAA regulations, but head coach Mike Riley elected to follow the game in Honolulu with a bye. The additional bye week early in the season created peculiarities within the league portion of the schedule.
The season opener is Sat., Aug. 30 against the Portland State Vikings in Corvallis. The game will mark the fourth contest in the series and first since a 34-7 victory over PSU to open the 2009 season. The Beavers have won all three previous meetings over the Vikings who are led by fifth-year head coach and former Beaver assistant Nigel Burton.
Game two of the season features the Beavers returning to O’ahu for the second time in three games, concluding a home-and-home series with the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors. OSU won last September’s game in Corvallis 33-14 and leads the overall series 6-3 with a three-game win streak. The last time the two programs played in Honolulu, the Beavers defeated then No. 24 Hawai’i 35-32 in the final game of the 2006 season. The Rainbow Warriors’ will have opened the season at home the week before against Washington.
Following the first bye of the year, OSU plays its final non-conference game hosting the San Diego State Aztecs Sept. 20 in what also is the final date of a home-and-home series. The Aztecs feature several former Beaver assistant coaches including SDSU head coach Rocky Long. OSU won a dramatic come-from-behind game last season in San Diego 34-30, scoring two touchdowns in the final 2:40 of the game. This series is tied at 2-2.
The Pac-12 slate opens Sept. 25 at USC, a place the Beavers are attempting to win for the first time since 1960. This is the first occasion OSU has opened league play against the Trojans since 2002. USC won in Corvallis last season 31-14. The Trojans will have a bye week to prepare for the Beavers following back-to-back road games at Stanford and Boston College.
October begins with the Beavers’ first visit to Colorado since 1988. OSU torched the Buffaloes 44-17 last season at Reser Stadium with quarterback Sean Mannion passing for a school record six touchdowns in a 414-yard effort. The Beavers lone victory at CU was during the 1964 season 14-7 and will enter that Oct. 4 game attempting to break a two-game skid in Boulder. The game will be Colorado’s sixth of the young season before having a bye the following week.
The only game in a 21-day period following the trip to Colorado is Thurs., Oct. 16 against the Utah Utes at Reser Stadium (Pac-12 teams are required by contract to play both a Thursday and Friday night home game in a three-year span – a Thursday home game typically creates a bye the Saturday prior). The game marks the first Thursday home game since the Beavers defeated then No. 1 USC Sept. 25, 2008 27-21. Brandin Cooks’ six-yard reception in overtime provided the winning points for OSU in a 51-48 thriller in Salt Lake City last season led by Mannion’s 443-yard five-touchdown effort and Cooks’ 210 yards receiving with three scores. Utah, like the Beavers, will be coming off a road game (UCLA) in its previous contest and a bye on Oct. 11.
OSU’s road schedule continues at defending Pac-12 champion Stanford Oct. 25. The then No. 6 Cardinal barely held off the Beavers last season, after OSU drove inside Stanford’s 10-yard line in the final seconds, to post a 20-12 win. The last two games of the series haven’t been decided until the final seconds. Stanford will play just one home game after this contest.
Homecoming 2014 is Nov. 1 against the California Golden Bears that begins a season-ending stretch of four home dates in five contests. Mannion burned the Bear secondary for 481 passing yards and four touchdowns in last season’s 49-17 victory at Memorial Stadium. The Beavers have won six of the last seven games in the series, the last two by an average of 56-15. The game marks Cal’s first road test after a three-game league homestand.
Washington State visits Nov. 8 as the Beavers attempt to win their fourth game in a row in the series after a 52-24 win in Pullman last year. Mannion passed for a school record 493 yards as the Beavers broke a tie with 28 fourth-quarter points at Martin Stadium. The Cougars will be coming off back-to-back home games.
OSU’s third consecutive home Pac-12 game, which is the longest streak of league home games since 1998, is Nov. 15 against Arizona State. OSU has won four straight at home over the Sun Devils with the last three being decided by an average of five points. Cooks broke the OSU single season record for receptions in the game last year in Tempe ending that contest with 100. ASU will arrive at Reser after back-to-back home games. The game will be the latest date the Sun Devils have played in Corvallis since Nov. 18, 1978.
The final road game of the season is Nov. 22 at Washington. The game will be the first visit for OSU to Husky Stadium since 2010, where it has won four of the last five outings. The date is the latest the two Pacific Northwest rivals have ever played in the 98-game history. UW will enter the game not having a bye since Oct. 4.
The season ends with the 118th Civil War, presented by The Oregon College Savings Plan, PacificSource Health Plans, Your Local Ford Stores, Wells Fargo and McDonalds, on Nov. 29. The Ducks enter the game following a home date with Colorado that was preceded by a bye.
Other key schedule notes
· Oregon State and California are the only teams to have a streak of three consecutive home league games.
· The Beavers, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Washington are the only teams to play on the last six dates of the season.
· Oregon State is the only team that ends the season with four home games in the last five dates.
· Oregon State is the only team that begins the Pac-12 portion of the season with two road games and is the only team to play three of its first four league games away.
Oregon State begins spring football March 31 and concludes with the Spring Game May 3 at Reser Stadium at 1 p.m. Kickoff times and television broadcast information will be available in June for the first four-to-five games of the season. Every game will be televised via combination of the ESPN channels, ABC, FOX, FOX Sports 1 and the Pac-12 Networks.
Deposits are being accepted for 2014 season tickets for a season that senior quarterback Sean Mannion could set the Pac-12 career passing record.
Aug. 30 Portland State
Sept. 6 at Hawai’i
Sept. 20 San Diego State
Sept. 27 at USC
Oct. 4 at Colorado
Oct. 16 Utah (Thursday)
Oct. 25 at Stanford
Nov. 1 California (Homecoming)
Nov. 8 Washington State
Nov. 15 Arizona State
Nov. 22 at Washington
Nov. 29 Oregon