Oregon State, USC Name QB Starters
With the kickoff of college football just two days away, Oregon State has named it starting quarterback for the season: Sean Mannion.
Oregon State head coach Mike Riley made the announcement on Monday that Mannion will get the starting nod against Eastern Washington on Saturday. After a long competition that included first-team reps for both players, he got the job over Cody Vaz, who spent time as the team’s starting quarterback last season.
So why Mannion?
Reilly said via the Associated Press, “Sean’s attributes are obviously his ability to get the ball just about wherever you want on the field. Along with his knowledge about where we’re going and what he should do with the ball.”
It hasn’t always been easy for Mannion. Last season, he began as the team’s starter but after four games he was out thanks to a knee injury. Vaz stepped in as the starter and promptly won two games. Mannion returned but got a loss against Washington. He was yanked by Reilly for the following game against Arizona State but then Vaz got injured (ankle) and Mannion again took over.
For the team’s Alamo Bowl game against Texas, Vaz was back at the helm.
Could you keep track of this story? Let’s look at the 2012 stats.
In his 10 games (eight as a starter), Mannion had 2,446 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and 13 picks while Vaz had 1,480 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and three picks in seven games (five starts).
As for 2013, Oregon State sits with an 8 1/2 regular win season (+125 o, -155 u). In its kick off game against Eastern Washington, Reilly has not said whether Vax will play. But look for a win at -27.
USC Names Two QBs Against Hawaii
As for USC, naming a quarterback, well not so fast.
It appears the battle will continue as two field generals will see playing time in Thursday’s opening game against Hawaii. Meet Max Wittek and Cody Kessler.
Wittek enters the horse race as the more experienced player after he took over for former USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the last two games of 2012. For the year, Wittek went 36 for 69, 388 yards (a 5.6 yard for an attempt) with a 3-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio, according to CBS Sports.
While both players enter the season as redshirt sophomores, Kessler only brings two passing attempts in his college career. He had a good spring and fall camp showing that mobility and playmaking are his strengths. This led USC coach Lane Kiffin to name Kessler as his second quarterback and now he’s part of the starting duo.
Kiffin said via the Associated Press, “That really is how well both guys did. For us, we look at it as a great thing. We’ve got two guys that we feel great about. We don’t feel like we have to limit our offense with either one of them in there.”
As for who will play in the first series in the Thursday night game, the opener for college football, Kiffin has said the player won’t be named until Tuesday once the team arrives in Hawaii. He did not reveal how he plans to use both of them in the game but he “anticipates” they will both play.
Why use the word “anticipate?” Kiffin said just in case one of them gets injured before then and one could become unavailable.
In addition, he said on Sunday, when he made the quarterback announcement, that he’d like to name a starter sooner rather than later; his wide receiver Marqise Lee has said he’d like to see this as well.
For the game, look for USC to take a big win at -21.5 (53.5 o/u). And for the regular season, they have a 9 1/2 win total (-110 o/-120 u).