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MailTribune.com
  • Heavy air assault expected between Beavers, Cougars

    No. 14 Oregon State looks to stay unbeaten against pass-happy Washington State
  • CORVALLIS — Washington State and Oregon State will likely recall the days of the old pass-happy Pac-10.
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    • WASHINGTON ST. AT OREGON ST.
      WHEN, WHERE: Today, 1 p.m., at Reser Stadium, Corvallis.
      TV, RADIO: Pac-12 Networks; WOLF (105.1-FM).
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      WASHINGTON ST. AT OREGON ST.
      WHEN, WHERE: Today, 1 p.m., at Reser Stadium, Corvallis.

      TV, RADIO: Pac-12 Networks; WOLF (105.1-FM).
  • CORVALLIS — Washington State and Oregon State will likely recall the days of the old pass-happy Pac-10.
    On one side there are the Cougars with new coach Mike Leach's trademark Air Raid attack. On the other are the No. 14 Beavers with sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion, who is throwing with confidence after a trying debut last season.
    Mannion was named the Pac-12 player of the week after passing for a career-high 433 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner to Connor Hamlett with 1:17 left, in Oregon State's 38-35 victory at Arizona last weekend.
    The week before Mannion threw for 379 yards — his previous career high — against UCLA.
    "I think a year of getting to play for Sean was really, really good. There's nothing like playing for football players in the games, and that's especially true for a quarterback," Beavers coach Mike Riley said. "The other thing about him is he really likes this game and works hard at it and spends a lot of time at it. He's truly a gym rat, he spent a lot of time studying film and studying what he had to do."
    Nationally, Oregon State's passing offense is ranked fourth with an average of nearly 363 yards per game. Mannion is ranked 10th with 350 yards in total offense per game, and eighth with an average of 27 completions per game.
    Mannion has a pair of talented receivers to work with. Senior Markus Wheaton had 166 receiving yards and two touchdowns against Arizona.
    Wheaton is averaging 134.3 receiving yards a game, just behind teammate and Pac-12 leader Brandin Cooks with 134.2 yards a game for the Beavers (3-0, 2-0 Pac-12). Cooks and Wheaton are ranked fifth and sixth nationally.
    On the other side is Washington State sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday, who took over when senior Jeff Tuel injured his right knee earlier this season.
    Halliday and Tuel are listed as "or" on Washington State's depth chart, meaning either one could get the start today, but Halliday has reportedly been getting most of the first-team snaps in practice.
    Last week Halliday threw for 348 yards and a touchdown against No. 2 Oregon at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
    Halliday has passed for over 300 yards in three straight games. Washington State (2-3, 0-2) is ranked third in the Pac-12 with an average of 333 passing yards per game as the Cougars adopt Leach's new scheme. Texas Tech led the nation in passing in six of Leach's 10 seasons there.
    Halliday's go-to-guy is Marquess Wilson, who had 12 catches for 182 yards against the Ducks and became the Cougars' career leader with 2,893 receiving yards.
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