Mannion falters, #7 Beavers fall to Huskies 20-17

This hit knocked Markus Wheaton out of the game. - Otto Greule Jr

Sean Mannion was replaced by Cody Vaz in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late, and the Huskies pulled off an ugly victory.

The Beaver offense was nonexistent in the first half, and in the end they couldn't overcome the slow start. Sean Mannion was 18-34 for 221 yards, but he threw 4 interceptions compared to just 1 touchdown. Granted, there were plenty of drops to by Beaver receivers, one by Markus Wheaton on an interception, but Mannion also misfired on a few throws, one of which could have been a touchdown to Colby Prince.

Cody Vaz replaced Mannion with 8:19 left in the 4th quarter, and went 5-6 on his first drive, capped by a 29-yard touchdown to Connor Hamlett. There will surely be talks of a QB controversy in Corvallis, but I don't think there's much of one. This was Mannion's first game back from a knee surgery which he had just a few weeks ago. Mannion didn't do as badly as the stats show, but he was certainly subpar. I think he'll be the starter next week, and rightly so.

The Beaver defense, and the Huskies themselves, did their best to keep Oregon State in it. Washington racked up 84 yards on 8 penalties, 2 of which were 15 yard personal fouls on Mannion interceptions, one of which would have been a touchdown. Excluding the 7+ minute drive in the first quarter, which only resulted in a field goal, the defense did its job tonight. For much of the game, the Huskies didn't capitalize on their favorable field position, but they did just enough to win the game, much like the Beavers did last week against Utah. The two Washington touchdown drives were on short fields, just 30 and 45 yards.

Markus Wheaton was knocked out of the game by a brutal hit early in the 2nd quarter, on a play that resulted in an interception after Wheaton was separated from the ball in midair. The senior receiver appeared to be knocked cold by the helmet-to-helmet, likely illegal, hit. He didn't return to the game, and the Beaver offense felt the effects of it. Seldom used Obum Gwachum was targeted 5 times, dropped 2 passes, and wasn't fast enough to convert a fourth down on another.

The first Oregon State touchdown drive was just two plays, and covered 83 yards. Storm Woods ran for 29 yards to start the drive, and Brandin Cooks took a WR screen 54 yards down the sideline to bring the Beavers within one score, after the Trevor Romaine extra point.

The playcalling was somewhat questionable this week. Mike Riley elected to go for it on 4th down from the Washington 32 in the 2nd quarter, and the 28 in the 3rd. Trevor Romaine isn't exactly consistent, and conditions were bad, but at least trying to take the points, especially in the 3rd quarter, looks like it was the better choice in hindsight. The playcalling at the end of the game, in my opinion, was atrocious. With the ball on the Washington 38, around 40 seconds left in the game, and 3 timeouts left, Cody Vaz took a deep shot on first down, that fell incomplete, and a second down incompletion that traveled over 10 yards in the air. I understand going for the touchdown on first down, but on 2nd down, you have to complete a pass. The goal is to have 3rd and 5 or shorter, so that even if you don't get a first down, you still have a decent shot at a field goal. 3rd and 10, and the subsequent 4th and 19, isn't nearly as doable.

All of that's pretty negative, so I guess I'll find a silver lining here. Richard Mullaney, 4 receptions for 70 yards. Now we can go back to quietly sobbing.

Don't know what else to say about that one. It stunk.

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