By Matt Heinz @MattHeinz_Rant on August 25, 2014
Oregon State lost the last five games of 2013, and all of those opponents will be on the Beavers schedule again in 2014. Head coach Mike Riley is the elder statesmen of the Pac-12 with a career record of 88-73. Riley gets back Pac-12 single season passing record breaking quarterback Sean Mannion. Let’s look at the five must-watch games for 2014.
Cyler Miles and Chris Petersen were both dominant at their jobs before arriving to Washington. Will their previous success translate in the competitive Pac-12? Washington lost Bishop Sankey and Keith Price, but look for Petersen to get the most out of his athletes. Steve Sarkisian did not leave the cupboard bare in Seattle.
Last year the Sun Devils were so worried about WR Brandin Cooks that they forgot about tight end Connor Hamlett. Hamlett used his extremely long body to haul in nine passes for 119 yards and a score. ASU won last year in Tempe 30-17. The Beavers get the Devils at home this year and will be thinking upset.
Last year USC won at Oregon State 31-14 for the first time since 2004. This time, however, the Trojans actually came in as underdogs. Javorius Allen rushed for 133 yards and three scores in the USC victory last fall. The Beavers will need to stop Allen and the new Trojan offense led by explosive WR Nelson Agholor.
Cornerback Alex Carter against Sean Mannion will be the individual battle to watch in this game, and so will the Stanford safeties against Connor Hamlett, the Beavers’ 6-foot-5 tight end. Stanford won last year 20-12 in Corvallis behind Tyler Gaffney’s 145 yards. Gaffney and four of his lineman are gone, but quarterback Kevin Hogan is back.
Last year’s Civil War was one the best games in college football not involving Auburn. Oregon won 36-35 on a last-minute touchdown catch by Josh Huff. This time the Beavers get to face the Ducks at home. Sean Mannion will have to be at this best as he will be playing the nation’s best corner in Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
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