No. 7 Oregon State seeks 7-0 start at Washington

No. 7 Oregon State seeks 7-0 start at Washington

SEATTLE (AP) When Mike Riley was forced to make the decision on whether to bring back Sean Mannion just a few weeks after knee surgery or stay with Cody Vaz, he referenced the call he made just a few months earlier.

Mannion won the job in fall camp, so it was a clear choice to go back to him now, especially with Oregon State on the verge of accomplishing a first in school history.

``I thought about it in terms of if we were starting over, these two guys were competing. Sean won the job initially,'' Riley said. ``Obviously we feel great about our quarterback situation, it's just a tough decision to make.''

With Mannion back in charge, the No. 7 Beavers (6-0, 4-0 Pac-12) come to Seattle on Saturday night to face slumping Washington (3-4, 1-3) with Oregon State seeking the first 7-0 start in school history.

Whether they were the Oregon Agricultural College or any other previous incarnations of the school's name, Oregon State has never won its first seven games to begin the season. And considering the low expectations on the Beavers coming in to this season, a win over Washington would cap a stretch of success that no one outside of Corvallis could have anticipated.

``This is truly a team and they encourage one another,'' Riley said. ``People like (Jordan) Poyer, (Markus) Wheaton and Andrew Seumalo created that energy as the season went on.''

Mannion has not played since Oct. 6 against Washington State. He played the entire game against the Cougars, but it was discovered in the days after that Mannion had a minor knee injury that would require surgery. Before the injury, Mannion was among the most impressive quarterbacks in the Pac-12, throwing for seven touchdowns in four games and was averaging more than 339 yards per game passing.

With Mannion sidelined, Vaz stepped in and more than held his own. It was Vaz's passing that led the Beavers to a 42-24 win at BYU, then last week Oregon State relied on its defense in a 21-7 win over Utah. The victory over Utah assured that the Beavers would be going to a bowl game for the first time since 2009 when Oregon State went 8-5 and went bowling in Las Vegas.

But these Beavers do not want their season defined by a 6-0 start.

``I don't think anybody's satisfied with being 6-0,'' Oregon State receiver Kevin Cummings said. ``It's good, but nobody's satisfied.''

The Beavers' ability to reach 7-0 may hinge on how well they can control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Washington's offensive line has been decimated by injuries and quarterback Keith Price continued to struggle last week at Arizona when he committed three turnovers, raising his total to 10 over the past three games.

Because of the injuries to the offensive line, Price has found himself running for safety for much of the season and now comes an Oregon State defense that has 16 sacks with half of those coming from Scott Crichton.

Price's struggles in last week's 52-17 loss at Arizona had Washington coach Steve Sarkisian questioning whether his quarterback was truly trusting the calls that were coming in from the sideline. Repairing Price's trust was one of Sarkisian's tasks this week in the hopes of bringing out the dynamic quarterback who threw for 33 touchdowns a season ago, but enters Saturday with just as many touchdowns (8) as interceptions this year.

Washington is trying to avoid its first four game losing streak since 2009 and has been outscored 128-52 the past three weeks.

``I think we've dealt with some things on our roster this year that could have potentially started that trust to diminish in what's going on around him,'' Sarkisian said. ``But I believe in the way I coach that position. I believe in Keith's ability to play that position. And we'll get it back. I just want to get it back sooner rather than later.''

While not the most important individual matchups, the battles between Washington wide receiver Kasen Williams and Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer, and Oregon State receiver Markus Wheaton and Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant will feature four of the best skill position players in the conference. Williams is looking to match his breakout game in the Huskies upset of Stanford last month when he had 10 catches for 129 yards and the winning touchdown, but will likely be matched with Poyer, who already has six interceptions.

On the other side, Wheaton has at least 85 yards receiving in five of six games, but hasn't topped the century mark since catching 10 passes for 166 yards against Arizona.

``Being 6-0 is tremendous, man,'' Wheaton said. ``Our hard work is paying off, I will say that.''

Quick Links

Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

USA TODAY Sports Images

Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  -- The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey -- finally -- is over.

Even though they needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it.

Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998 at Nagano, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the shootout to start the Americans piling over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice.

Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout. Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up with a breakaway with 6:21 left in regulation.

Hilary Knight also had a goal.


Maddie Rooney made 29 saves for the win against their archrival. The 20-year-old goalie stopped the last two Canadian shooters in the shootout in Brianne Jenner and then Meghan Agosta on her second attempt.

It was sweet redemption for the 10 Americans who watched the Canadians snatch gold from their hands in 2014 at Sochi after tying it up with 54.6 seconds left in regulation and winning 3-2 in overtime.

Not only did the Americans snap the Canadians' stranglehold on Olympic gold, they ended a skid of five straight against their rival coming into this game, including a 2-1 loss to wrap up pool play a week ago.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Haley Irwin each scored goals for Canada. Agosta and Melodie Daoust scored in the shootout.

The Americans had been dominating in non-Olympic years, winning the last four and eight of the last 10 world championships, including a 3-2 overtime victory over Canada last spring.

Their domination on the world stage only made the lack of gold at the Olympics all the more noticeable, and Canada has been in their way since losing the inaugural gold in Nagano. Canada had won 24 straight Olympic games to go along with four consecutive gold medals. It's a streak of success in a women's team sport second only to the United States' basketball team's current streak of six straight gold.

This was the eighth time these North American rivals met in the Olympics and the fifth with gold on the line. None of the previous seven were decided by more than two goals.

U.S. coach Robb Stauber went with the 20-year-old Rooney in net for the biggest game of her career, but she was the goalie for each of the three games the Americans beat Canada last fall during their pre-Olympic exhibition tour, including Four Nations Cup title in November.

Canada had Shannon Szabados, 31, in goal for her third Olympic gold medal game, and her teammates made her job very easy by keeping the puck in front of Rooney for most of the first period by dictating play. The Americans couldn't use their speed or get organized even with two power plays until Sarah Nurse went in the box for interference late in the period.

Knight gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with 25.4 seconds left in the first, redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin through Szabados' pads giving the Americans a jolt of energy.

That lasted only 2 minutes into the second when Irwin tipped a pass from Blayre Turnbull over Rooney's left leg for Canada. When Morin lost the puck, Melodie Daoust grabbed it and passed to Meghan Agosta who hit Poulin for the wrister into the left side of the net at 6:55 for a 2-1 lead.


Quick Links

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.


Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.