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OSU takes care of another road test

Beavers tame BYU with back-up Cody Vaz at QB and a solid defensive effort
Oct. 13, 2012

Led by a stellar performance from junior Cody Vaz, the Oregon State Beavers not only beat Brigham Young on its home field, it continued moving up in the national rankings with a 42-24 victory Saturday.

Vaz, making his first start, guided the Beavers to a touchdown on their opening poessions and went on to throw for 332 yards and three touchdowns, which earned him the Pac-12 Player of the Week award and even a spot on the ESPN poll for "Impact Player of the Week."

OSU (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) moved up to No. 8 heading in the national coaches' poll into a home game with Utah Saturday night. The Beavers are No. 10 in the first BCS Poll.



Oct. 10, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It was bound to happen, happen to OSU and Beaver Nation.

Injuries. Or just one injury.

Sean Mannion. He certainly has not been the most instrumental player in OSU's four-game win streak to open the season, but he's been close.

With Mannion leading the offense at quarterback, the Beavers have done just enough to beat four good teams - three who were either in the Top 25 or had gotten votes that week. Just enough is four wins by a combined 26 points - less than a touchdown per game, and last week's 19-6 win accounted for half that total.

The OSU defense has been the center of the team's rise from preseason obscurity to No. 10 in the nation. Mannion's exit with a knee injury for an unspecified time has cast junior Cody Vaz, who's been on the field for games, but never as THE center of the offense, into a role he wasn't expected to fill this season. So, now, a surprising season that's gotten a school record for attendance at a home game, and dreams of facing Oregon at home in the Civil War for the right to play USC (we all expect that) for the right to play in the Rose Bowl - or better, rests on the offense doing just enough with Vaz at QB.

Just enough has been seven points or less in two of the four wins. That's what the Beavers need to focus on this week as they head for BYU, which is 4-2 with all of the wins at home. The Cougars have scored 21 points or better in four of their games, including three wins.

BYU can put points on a scoreboard. But, the nation will be watching for how many points the Beavers don't allow, and the Cougars also haven't scored a lot. They've scored just six points in a game twice, including last week's 6-3 win over Utah State.

With the untested Vaz at QB, the Beavers will be looking to their ground game to pound out some points, but that's been an issue all season. The team's passing game has been it's core with Mannion throwing for an average of 340 yards per game. Rushing? That's 135 yards per game - 3.1 per carry, and four TDs.

If ever there were a time to break out Markus Wheaton as an older version of Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, this would be the week.

Without having seen Vaz play even one play, it's hard to assess what his impact on a game will be, but that might be what Beaver fans could look for Saturday - that Vaz doesn't need to be a big part of the game because the other parts of the Beavers work so well together - especially on defense.

If OSU clamps down on the Cougars, especially early, there's room to take another step forward into the Top 10 heading into a road game at Washington.


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