Oregon State has had enough drama this season, thank you.
The Beavers (2-1, 1-0 Pac-12) opened the season with a 49-46 upset loss to lower-division Eastern Washington. A 33-14 victory over Hawaii and a 51-48 overtime thriller at Utah last weekend helped ease the sting, but at the same time came a rash of injuries.
AT SAN DIEGO STATE
Oregon State will be without top running back Storm Woods this weekend at San Diego State because of a concussion that he sustained against the Utes. Woods is the Beavers' leading rusher with 152 yards and two touchdowns. Last season he had 940 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.
The loss of Woods seriously hampers a running game that is averaging just 70 yards a game this season, 119th among FBS-level teams. Oregon State will start capable backup Terron Ward, who will be spelled by redshirt freshman Chris Brown. Woods won't return until he is symptom-free.
The Beavers lost three other starters during the game against Hawaii. Starting right guard Roman Sapolu is likely gone for the season after suffering a foot injury. Starting right tackle Grant Enger suffered a sprained knee and will likely be out until the end of September. Starting linebacker Michael Doctor is also out for an indefinite period after undergoing left foot surgery on Sunday.
The Aztecs are coming off a bye after a tough 42-7 loss in Columbus to Ohio State. San Diego State also dropped its opener 40-19 to Eastern Illinois.
"This is going to sound very vague, but it is vague: I don't have any idea of what to expect," Aztecs coach Rocky Long said about the matchup with the Beavers. "I still believe in our players, I still think we have enough talent to be a decent and competitive team. We have yet to prove that to anybody. I think we're hoping something good happens early in the game so we can regain our confidence and play to our athletic ability. Now, if that's good enough to stay with Oregon State is yet to be seen."
San Diego State leads the all-time series between the two teams 2-1, with wins in 1972 and 1975. Oregon State beat the Aztecs 35-3 in 2000, the year Oregon State finished 11-1 and won the Fiesta Bowl. Chad Johnson, later known as Chad Ochocinco, caught his first college touchdown in the game against San Diego State.
Here are five things to look for when San Diego State hosts Oregon State today.
STARTING WALK-ON — San Diego State junior quarterback Quinn Kaehler, a transfer from Diablo Valley College, will start today against the Beavers, becoming just the second walk-on to start this season for an FBS team. Kaehler threw for 216 yards and a touchdown against Ohio State in his debut, replacing Adam Dingwell, who was inconsistent and suffering from a sore back. Texas Tech freshman Baker Mayfield is the only other FBS walk-on starter in the country.
MARVELOUS MANNION — Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion was named the Pac-12 player of the week after he passed for a career-high 443 yards in the victory over Utah. His five TD passes matched a school record and his yardage was the third-most in school history. Mannion has 12 touchdown passes this season, tied for first nationwide, and ranks second nationally with 1,237 yards passing.
RETURN TO QUALCOMM — The game will be a homecoming of sorts for Oregon State coach Mike Riley, who coached the NFL's San Diego Chargers from 1999-2001. The Chargers and the Aztecs both play at Qualcomm, which used to be known as Jack Murphy Stadium. Riley, who was 14-34 as head coach of the Chargers, spoke of returning to the stadium earlier this week: "Most of my memories aren't great ones as far as the football games. But I love the environment, the stadium, the city and I'm excited to go with our team down there to play a game."
DOUBLE DUTY — Receiver Colin Lockett leads his team in receptions (14), rushing yards (52) and kickoff return yards (105), joining just two others nationwide who top their teams in all three categories. He has 14 catches for 156 yards and is just six catches shy of his total last season. He is also San Diego State's all-time leader in kick return yardage with 1,560.
COOKIN' COOKS — Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks ranks fourth nationally with an average of 9.7 catches a game, and third nationally with an average of 166 yards a game. In total, Cooks has 29 catches for 498 yards and seven touchdowns. Said Aztecs coach Long: "He has all the things great receivers have. He's quick, he's fast, he can change directions and if the ball is close, he catches it. He out-runs people; he's very good running patterns. So he gets open and the quarterback gets him the ball."