The Oregon State Beavers open their second consecutive season at home against a Division II FBS opponent, after losing in an upset last season to the Eastern Washington Eagles, 49-46.
The Portland State Vikings have the opening draw against the Beavers this season. The last time the two schools played each other was in 2009 with Oregon State winning handily 34-7. The Beavers are one of the two Pac-12 opponents this season for the Vikings. They are scheduled to play the Washington State Cougars on Sept. 13 in Pullman, Wash.
Oregon State finished last season with a 7-6 record and a win against the Boise State Broncos in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl by a score of 38-23.
The Beavers’ offense took a huge loss this season as wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who led all wide outs in receiving yards with 1,730, left for the NFL. Without his primary target, quarterback Sean Mannion will be forced to spread the field this season. Cooks was the only major loss for the Beavers on offense. They’re returning 10 starting players with wide receiver Richard Mullaney likely to become Mannion’s go-to guy.
Mannion was second in passing yards last season behind Fresno State Bulldog quarterback Derek Carr, and had 4,662 yards, 37 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. The senior quarterback set himself apart from the other elite quarterbacks in college football this offseason, as Mannion won the Manning Passing Academy beating out USC Trojans‘ Cody Kessler and South Alabama Jaguars‘ Brandon Bridge in the finals of the competition.
The weak point for the Beavers last season was their defense, who gave up an average of 437 yards per game and 31.4 points per game. There are eight returning starters for Oregon State on defense including six senior players. The Beavers have an opportunity to be great on defense, but the momentum starts with stopping opponents. Oregon State gave up a combined 5,676 yards to its opponents last season and were 10th among teams in the Pac-12.
After going 6-6 last season, the Vikings have a strong veteran presence under head coach Nigel Burton. There are 15 starters returning on both sides of the ball for Portland State with the biggest loss coming at running back (All-American D.J. Adams moved on to the NFL).
Oregon State plays host to Portland State at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Aug. 30. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
PREDICTION: Oregon State 44, Portland State 17