The Oregon State Beavers were fortunate last season to have Storm Woods have a breakout freshman season in 2012 and put some consistency in the Beavers’ running game for the foreseeable future. Mike Riley and company are dealing with the fallout of a young player locking down a starting position as running back Malcolm Agnew has announced he will be transferring from Corvallis.
Agnew will begin his junior season with the Southern Illinois Salukis after spending the last two seasons with Oregon State. He burst onto the scene in his debut against the Sacramento State Hornets when he rushed for 223 yards on 33 carries with three touchdowns. Since then, however, lingering injuries that have hampered him since his high school career prevented him from being a consistent presence in the starting lineup.
That opened the door for Woods to step up and take control of the starting job last season. In 2012, Agnew appeared in all 13 games as a backup, accumulating 269 yards on 63 carries with a touchdown after rushing for 423 yards and five touchdowns during his freshman season in 2011.
Riley returned to Corvallis after a few weeks away to the news that Agnew’s decision was final and was disappointed to lose the junior. The Beavers coach believes that the running back’s decision is about playing time, though Riley told Agnew that he could earn more playing time this season. While Riley is disappointed that Agnew won’t be back next fall, he says that he understands where the running back is coming from.
The loss of Agnew thins out the backfield for Oregon State in 2013. Junior Terron Ward will likely take on a bigger bulk of the backup carries next season after he seemed to overtake Agnew in 2012, rushing for 415 yards and six touchdowns. Outside of Woods and Ward, Oregon State has no other returning running backs who gained more than 51 yards.
If Agnew could have stayed healthy in Corvallis, he likely would have been emerging as one of the Pac 12‘s best young rushers in 2013. Instead he will be heading back east and the Beavers will have to lean on their other young ball carriers next fall to carry them through.