Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Season recap: Oregon State
By Kevin Gemmell
OREGON STATE BEAVERS
Record: 3-9, 3-6 Pac-12
Once thought to have the most secure job in the conference, Mike Riley's seat might be a little toastier next year after back-to-back disappointing seasons. It started with an overtime loss to Sacramento State in Week 1 and quickly snowballed as the Beavers lost five of their first six. Freshman Sean Mannion showed glimpses of what could be, tossing for 3,328 yards. But 18 interceptions to 16 touchdowns stains his 64.5 percent completion percentage.
If you're looking for things to build off of, there was the 38-21 win in the second to last game of the year over Washington. Mannion completed 26-of-37 balls for 339 yards and a pair of scores. There was the season-high 44 points the Beavers put up against Washington State -- four touchdowns courtesy of the freshman quarterback.
There were flashes, but they came so inconsistently that Oregon State could never string together a complete game -- half -- or sometimes even a quarter.
Riley gets another year to turn the ship around -- but with just eight wins in the last two seasons -- he better start moving quicker. Ranking 99th in points for (21.8) and 88th in points against (30.8) is a good way to charcoal your chair.
Offensive MVP: A case could be made for Mannion, certainly. But junior receiver Markus Wheaton, a Pac-12 honorable mention selection, caught 73 balls for 986 yards. He had just one touchdown, but drew a lot of attention with James Rodgers not being 100 percent.
Defensive MVP: Junior defensive back Jordan Poyer, who landed on the All-Pac-12 second team, led the team in passes defended (16) and also hauled in four interceptions. Worth noting that he's also one of the most versatile players on the squad, returning kicks on special teams.
Turning point: Every time another player went down to injury, it was a turning point. The Beavers only had six positions where they had the same starter all season long. But if you're looking for one individual game or moment, it's probably the Washington game. Though OSU went on to lose its regular season finale against Oregon, it still gives a little bit of momentum heading into another bowl-less offseason.
Up next: Recruit, recruit, recruit. After posting 36 wins between 2006-2009, Riley knows how to motivate and win in the Pacific Northwest. But next season will be critical to his future in Corvallis.