Oregon State head coach Mike Riley has been holding off on making a decision between quarterbacks until the final practice before their bowl game.
Riley has named junior Cody Vaz the starting quarterback for the No. 15 Beavers when they face off against No. 23 Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Antonio, Texas.
The junior has been battling with sophomore Sean Mannion for the starting spot, both quarterbacks have been taking reps with the first team in practices this month.
It was a tough choice for the coach because Mannion had been a two-year starter for the Beavers while Vaz had been a pleasant surprise that came out of nowhere to fill in for Mannion when he was injured. Riley stated how hard the decision was:
“I have to stress we are choosing between good, not good and bad.”
Mannion started the first four games of the season before suffering a left knee injury that required surgery and that’s when Vaz stepped up to the plate and delivered.
In the five starts that Vaz had in Mannion’s absence, the junior threw for 1,096 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception while he went 3-2 in those five games. He injured his ankle during the fifth game against Stanford, almost leading the Beavers to an upset victory on the road.
While he was recovering from the ankle injury, guess who came and filled in for the injured replacement? Well, none other the man who he replaced, of course. Mannion took his starting job back and started the final three games of the season, going 2-1 and throwing for over 850 yards and seven touchdowns.
Before this season, Vaz hadn’t started a game since his senior year in high school and now he is starting in an important bowl game. Quite a stage for the junior quarterback.