CORVALLIS — The No. 18 Oregon State football team goes into a showdown at Arizona tonight with a quarterback who didn't throw fully in practice until late in the week because of a sore arm.
Sean Mannion didn't throw on Monday and was limited on Tuesday and Wednesday, but he is expected to be ready for the game.
The sophomore pronounced himself ready after a full workload Thursday.
"I felt like I made all the throws," he said. "I feel good and feel ready. A lot of it was taking the doctor's advice. It's killing me I couldn't do everything every day. I don't want to make it into a bigger deal than it is. It was a little sore, but not bad."
Mannion felt soreness in his throwing arm during last weekend's game at UCLA. He still doesn't know if the problem came from a big hit or wear and tear.
"He has been sore — that's the issue — but he's getting better every day," coach Mike Riley said. "We have 48 hours before the game. He could improve dramatically. He'll throw (Friday) and he should be fine."
What would help the Beavers, if Mannion is full strength or not, is a running game.
"We did a great job in the UCLA game, but we are still progressing," Mannion said of the run game. "I went back to look at the video of UCLA. While we played pretty well, there are things we missed. We have a lot to learn and we haven't put together that complete game."
The Beavers rushed for 78 yards in the first game against Wisconsin, and improved to 122 yards against UCLA.
"I think the running game is improving, compared to Wisconsin when it was pretty rough," offensive tackle Colin Kelly said. "We just executed our assignments as a whole. We are on track, but we definitely need to improve."
Running back Storm Woods was productive against UCLA with 96 yards. He ran better in the second half when OSU wanted to wear down the Bruins.
"We are not where we want to be," Woods said. "But we are doing some good things there. We didn't run it out the house, but we are going to get better."
How do you do that?
"That's on me," Woods said. "I didn't start running aggressively and comfortable until the second half. I have to start out fast. We'll see at Arizona."
Arizona is ranked ninth in the Pac-12 in run defense, allowing 163.5 yards per game with a three-man defensive line. That's the big weakness in its defense, compared to an athletic secondary.
The Wildcats run a similar defense as UCLA, and OSU's offensive line dominated that game.
"If they have three guys up front, they want us to run the ball," Kelly said. "I'm looking forward to it. We just have to know what we're doing when the defenses are shifting. It's just no more mistakes and when we get on someone we have to execute."