Center Grant Johnson (70) probably won't play Saturday against Stanford, due to an ankle injury, and quarterback Sean Mannion (4) will need to avoid throwing so many interceptions if Oregon St. is going to be able to pull an upset win against the Cardinal. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
Oregon St. has a number of players out of action as they reach mid-week in their preparations for Stanford's visit for Homecoming on Saturday, which is looking like it will be a cold wet affair.
Center Grant Johnson had a boot on his ankle, and is doubtful for Saturday. Geoff Garner, who took over for Johnson when he had to come out of the Utah game will start for the Beavers against the Cardinal. OG Burke Ellis, who was inadvertently kicked in the back in the Utah game, is also doubtful for this week. Ellis returned to the game in Salt Lake City, but only briefly.
Josh Andrews will start at LG, and Grant Enger will move over to the RG spot vacated by Ellis.
Corner back will be a thin spot against Stanford as well, as Ryan Hanford is also doubtful this week, after it was determined a hand injury suffered in Tuesday's practice was a broken middle finger. Sean Martin has been cleared, and returned to practice, after recovering from a foot injury, but won't be ready to play until the Cal game. Keynan Parker becomes the backup for both Jordan Poyer and Rashaad Reynolds.
Safety Anthony Watkins also missed practice, but head coach Mike Riley does expect Watkins to play.MLB Feti Unga is still out with a knee injury, and his return at any time this season is becoming questionable. MLB Tony Wilson, who left the game against Utah before halftime, also missed practice, with concussion-like symptoms cited as the cause. Reuben Robinson likely starts Saturday in the middle, and did a better job than anyone else has since Unga got hurt at the beginning of the BYU game, but it leaves the Beavers with little depth across the linebacker group.
Of course little else may matter if turnover trouble continues against the Cardinal. The Beavers' turnover margin is the worst in the Pac-12. And with the release of the updated national stats, we notice that Sean Mannion's 3 interceptions against Utah gives him 13 for the season, and the team 14, which is tied with SMU and Central Michigan for worst in the country.
But then, last November, after the debacle against Washington St., which was similar in too many ways to last week's embarrassing outing against Utah, the Beavers bounced back from similar adversity to destroy USC 36-7. It will be interesting to see if Oregon St. reprises their effort against the Trojans, or their subsequent 38-0 loss in last year's meeting with Andrew Luck and Stanford.
Luck has never won in the state of Oregon. Can he break that streak, or will he never win in the valley? It's the story line of the week.