- David Lombardi, ESPN Staff Writer
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Oregon State's offense sputtered in its first half without Sean Mannion, but the Beavers turned on the jets down the stretch to rout Weber State, 26-7, on Friday. They also named a starting quarterback in the process.
Oregon State entered 2015 as the only team in the country without a single snap of experience at the quarterback position. The battle between Seth Collins and Marcus McMaryion extended into the game, so this was more intriguing than the run-of-the-mill opener.
The first 30 minutes weren't promising for the Beavers. Penalties and mistakes stalled drive after drive, and Oregon State managed only a pair of field goals. Coach Gary Andersen didn't mince words in his halftime interview.
"As an offense, we're not very good," he said. "That's the bottom line."
Collins, though, responded to criticism with his legs and a pristine deep ball in the second half. He finished with 152 rushing yards on 17 carries. One of Collins' two touchdown passes was a perfectly placed 44-yard bomb to Jordan Villamin.
What this means for Oregon State: The Beavers are off to a winning start in the Andersen era. There will obviously be growing offensive pains post-Mannion, but the dual-threat electricity that Collins provided should infuse optimism in this team. Though they were athletically superior to Weber State, Oregon State's new defensive starters also looked sound. All told, it's a good time for the Beavers to take their show on the road and test it against stiffer competition.
Perfect: A trip to Michigan looms next.
What this means for Weber State: This was easily the toughest game on the Wildcats' schedule, and they fell short against a bigger school despite a solid defensive effort -- especially in the first half. Weber State moves forward with a trip to North Dakota State next Saturday.
Player of the game: Whenever a quarterback wins a starting job within the course of a game, expect him to earn this paragraph of recognition. That's exactly what Collins did Friday evening with his second-half performance. (His first half was also notable, as he hurdled over yet another defender, reminding fans of his acrobatics in the Beavers' spring game.) Andersen confirmed the news immediately after the game, saying, "Seth is the starter moving forward."
The game turned when: Manase Hungalu intercepted Weber State quarterback Jadrian Clark on the first play of the fourth quarter. Oregon State held a tenuous 13-7 lead at the time, but their offense turned around and ripped off a six-play, 36-yard drive to begin securing the game. The Beavers never looked back beyond that point: A touchdown and another field goal followed to account for the final score.
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