Cody Vaz handed the ball for the No. 10 Beavers

Cody Vaz handed the ball for the No. 10 Beavers

After two years spent mostly watching from the sidelines, quarterback Cody Vaz gets the start for No. 10 Oregon State this Saturday when the Beavers travel to BYU.

It will be a challenging task for Vaz, who takes over after starter Sean Mannion injured his left knee against Washington State last weekend. Mannion had helped lead the Beavers to a 4-0 start and their highest ranking since the 2001 Fiesta Bowl season.

Vaz has appeared in only five games in his career, completing six of 17 passes for 48 yards. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound junior has not played in a game since the 2010 season.

He hasn't started since high school.

``I'm not really nervous, more so excited,'' Vaz said. ``It's a great opportunity for our team. We're going into a tough place to play, a really good football team, a really good defensive team. It will be a great opportunity for us.''

OK, really, no nerves?

``I can't wait,'' he said smiling. ``I can't wait `til Saturday.''

The question is whether Vaz can lead a team that has experienced a striking turnaround since finishing last season 3-9. Coach Mike Riley said he has complete confidence in Vaz, but does have one regret.

``The only unfortunate part is that I haven't played him enough,'' he said Tuesday.

Oregon State visits Provo to face an independent BYU team that is 4-2 but facing quarterback issues of its own. Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Monday that freshman quarterback Taysom Hill is out for the season after injuring his left knee in BYU's 6-3 victory over Utah State last Friday night.

Hill was standing in for senior quarterback Riley Nelson, who missed two games with what he described as ``back fractures.''

Nelson, who has thrown for 754 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions, is expected to play against the Beavers on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Mendenhall learned of Oregon State's quarterback situation just before the start of practice on Monday.

``Who knows what the fallout is. You have a good offensive system in place that's very consistent from year to year. How that will be tailored all of a sudden to a new quarterback, I'm not certain,'' he said. ``We'll prepare for what we know and then adjust to what we don't know or what we see on game day. That's really the best we can do.''

Mannion's injury was a surprise, even to Riley. The 6-foot-5, 212-pound sophomore showed no sign of it during the Beavers' 19-6 victory over Washington State, when he was injured on a handoff but did not leave the game. He finished with 270 yards passing and a touchdown.

At 9:45 a.m. on Monday morning, just as the team was about to go into a meeting, the news hit.

``It was a total shock,'' Riley said. ``The doctor and the trainer came running down the hall. So I knew it wasn't good.''

Mannion is expected to have surgery to repair meniscus damage in his left knee as early as Wednesday. He will be week-to-week following the procedure.

Mannion was averaging 339.5 yards passing a game, second in the Pac-12 and sixth in the nation. He has thrown for 1,358 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions this season. He is sixth on Oregon State's career list with 4,686 yards.

A classic drop-back passer with a calm demeanor and a good grasp of the fundamentals, Mannion is the son of a high school football coach. He is one of four team captains for Oregon State this year.

Last season as a redshirt freshman, Mannion unseated junior starter Ryan Katz, who had started the 2010 season for the Beavers. Katz has since transferred to San Diego State.

Vaz grew up in Lodi, Calif., and played at St. Mary's High School, where he was 24-5 in two seasons as the starter. He was the Stockton Record's player of the year his senior season.

Vaz's backup going forward will be redshirt freshman quarterback Richie Harrington, a walk-on.

Oregon State has not opened a season 5-0 since 1939.

Quick Links

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


Quick Links

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.