The Oregon State Beavers suffered a huge setback to their season out of the gate when they got gashed by the Eastern Washington Eagles of FCS in a 49-46 shootout. The team got right in Week 2 and handled their business against the Hawaii Warriors, evening their record at 1-1. While the defense has been up and down early on this season, the one constant and positive driving force for Mike Riley is Sean Mannion under center.
Despite not winning the starting quarterback job until very late into fall camp, Mannion has been nothing but impressive in his command of the offense. Through two games, Mannion has thrown for 794 yards, second in the nation only to Jared Goff of the Cal Bears, while completing 79.1 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and just one interception. He’s picked up the slack for a running game that has yet to really find its footing this season, averaging just 81 yards per game.
Mannion’s strong play has helped wide receiver Brandin Cooks off to a fast start to 2013 as well. The junior wide out ranks fourth in the country with 288 yards and four touchdowns in the first two contests, tied for the most in the country. His 20 receptions are good for fourth best in college football so far and he’s quickly proving that his breakout season in 2012 was no fluke and that he can handle being the No. 1 guy this season.
While the defenses haven’t exactly been the most stellar that Oregon State will face this season, Mannion is doing exactly what he should be with the talent of this Beavers’ offense; shredding secondaries for huge numbers. By finding his rhythm early, he’s reinforcing Mike Riley’s choice to start him and rewarding his teammates faith in him with strong play and building an offensive confidence that Oregon State will need to rely on when the schedule gets tougher at the end of the year.
Can Mannion maintain his furious pace for an entire season or will the pressure to carry Oregon State be too much for him?