NOTE: This is an Oregon State story from Gary Horowitz of the Salem (Ore.) Statesman Journal, one of our Gannett partners. Here is a link for more coverage of the Beavers from the newspaper.
In the aftermath of another defeat, two numbers have equal billing on the most-disconcerting list for Oregon State coach Mike Riley: 66 and 13.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Sean Mannion attempted a school-record 66 passes in Saturday’s 35-20 loss at No. 25 Arizona State, and the Beavers were penalized 13 times for 139 yards.
“I think they’re both surprising numbers. I don’t know if you pick one,” Riley said Sunday. “We don’t really want to be that 66-passing team. The penalties, I think probably almost half of them had to do with trying to handle their pass rush for that many passes.”
The previous school record for passes in one game was 64 by Erik Wilhelm in 1986 at Michigan.
Mannion also set the school mark with 40 completions in his second career start, but he was intercepted four times.
For the third game in a row, the Beavers struggled with their running game and had 14 attempts for 47 yards.
Tailback Malcolm Agnew missed all three of those games with a hamstring injury.
“We’ve got to be more efficient in our run plays,” Riley said. “We have to block them correctly, stay on blocks and finish blocks. We’ve got to stick with it more.”
Agnew, who set a single-game school rushing record for freshmen with 223 yards in the season opener against Sacramento State, had hoped to play at ASU. But he tweaked his hamstring in practice Thursday and will be re-evaluated this week.
If the injury continues to linger, OSU could seek a medical hardship waiver for Agnew, which potentially would allow him to redshirt this season.
“We know that scenario, but I wouldn’t say we’re pointing toward that,” Riley said. “We’re pointing on getting him healthy and back in football shape.”
OSU next plays Saturday at home against Arizona in a matchup of two teams heading in the same direction. The Wildcats have dropped four games in a row since beating lower-division opponent Northern Arizona in their season opener.
Arizona has lost nine consecutive games to Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. OSU is 0-4 for the first time since 1996 and has a six-game losing streak dating to last season.
“We’re both hungry obviously and needing a win,” Riley said. “It’s an interesting matchup that way.”
Arizona quarterback Nick Foles threw for 428 yards and four touchdowns in Saturday’s 48-41 loss at USC.
His first start for the Wildcats was in a 37-32 Arizona victory at OSU in 2009.
“You’ve seen them in the Oregon game and USC game be down but never out just because of his arm,” Riley said.
Notes: OSU cornerback Sean Martin has a broken bone in his foot and will be out for four weeks. The Beavers hope to have defensive end Taylor Henry (glute) available for the Arizona game.