The same week surprising Oregon State achieved yet another stunning milestone by moving into the Associated Press top 10, the Beavers also received some bad news regarding their starting quarterback.
It turns out sophomore Sean Mannion injured the meniscus in his left knee during OSU’s 19-6 win over Washington State on Saturday, tweaking the knee on a simple handoff during a draw play.
He’s the third Pac-12 quarterback who will miss time because of injury this season. Utah’s Jordan Wynn was forced to give up football after suffering a shoulder injury early in the season, and WSU’s Jeff Tuel left the Cougars’ second game of the year with a knee injury (he’s since recovered).
So OSU turns to backup Cody Vaz, a junior of whom coach Mike Riley spoke highly during Tuesday’s call with reporters.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in Cody,” Riley said. “I’ve always thought he was a good quarterback. The only unfortunate part is I haven’t played him enough. I think he’s a good player. We don’t have to change or do anything different.”
The Oregonian reported that Mannion is scheduled for surgery Wednesday, and his status will be “week to week” thereafter.
Vaz hasn’t played since 2010, when he completed 6 of 17 passes for 48 yards. He was the team’s backup when last season ended, though never saw any game action and hasn’t played this year during four down-to-the-wire OSU wins.
The Beavers travel to face Brigham Young on Saturday. Not exactly a soft landing for a quarterback seeing game action for the first time in two seasons.
“The one good thing about this deal on the inside of it with our team is they all know Cody’s good,” Riley said.
Talking Thursdays: Colorado and Arizona State, it’s your turn.
The Buffaloes and Sun Devils will play on Thursday night, something each team in the conference can plan on doing thanks to the Pac-12’s new television deals.
Colorado coach Jon Embree, an assistant with the Chiefs and Redskins from 2006-10, said his experience in the NFL makes playing during the week every now and then somewhat normal.
“There’s a lot of good things about playing on Thursday night,” Embree said. “I’m used to it because in the NFL, you had Thursday night and Monday night. … I think it’s good also because it gives you a couple of natural breaks for your players.”
WSU has already played a Thursday game and a Friday game, and has another Friday game scheduled against Washington on Nov. 23.
While a weeknight game in Pullman presents a challenge for fans driving in from distant locations, bigger cities have to contend with issues such as rush-hour traffic and parking logistics.
That was Washington coach Steve Sarkisian’s takeaway from his team’s Thursday night tilt against Stanford earlier this season.
“I don’t know if people accounted for how much traffic it would be,” Sarkisian said.
“I think they’re nice to do maybe a once a year deal. Wouldn’t want to make it a habit.”
Elsewhere: No. 17 Stanford will likely be without top receiver Ty Montgomery (lower body injury) when it plays No. 7 Notre Dame on Saturday. … It would be difficult to blame ASU for overlooking the 1-4 Buffaloes, with No. 2 Oregon awaiting the Sun Devils next week in a potential matchup of Pac-12 division leaders. But coach Todd Graham isn’t buying that. “It’s something we better not do, I can tell you that,” Graham said. “It has everything to do with the mental maturity of your football team. These guys have shown a lot of maturity for me. Anybody in this league can beat anybody else on any given game week.” … Sarkisian and USC coach Lane Kiffin, whose teams face each other Saturday, have been close friends since their days as assistants under Pete Carroll at USC. And that hasn’t prevented them from talking shop during the offseason. “A little bit, but not as much as you’d think,” Kiffin said. “We do discuss other teams sometimes, stadiums or different things like that.”