Since 2005, Hawaii has played at least one team from the Pac-12, going a less than impressive 4-8 in that span. This year, the Warriors will have three opportunities to improve upon that record with three Pac-12 opponents on the schedule this fall. The Washington Huskies will be the first team visiting Honolulu in the season opener, followed by the Oregon State Beavers the next week. Here's what you need to know about OSU and how they'll match up with the Warriors:
COACH: Mike Riley
A local hero in Corvallis, Oregon, Mike Riley played Quarterback at Corvallis High while his father, Bud Riley, was an assistant down the road at Oregon State. While at CHS, Riley lead the Spartans to two straight title games (winning one) before choosing to join Bear Bryant at Alabama as a Defensive Back. After his playing days ended, Riley joined the coaching ranks in 1975 as a Graduate Assistant at California. He would bounce around College and Canadian Football with different Assistant Coaching jobs before landing his first Head Coaching position with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1987. He would lead Winnipeg to two Grey Cup titles and finished 40-32 in his tenure in the CFL.
After a stint as a Head Coach in the World League of American Football, (which would become NFL Europe later on), and an assistant spot at USC, Riley would return home to take the Head Coaching job at Oregon State in 1997. In his first two seasons at OSU, Riley would post a 8-14 record, including their first win in the "Civil War" against Oregon since 1993, but would jump to the NFL as the San Diego Chargers Head Coach in 1999. Four years later, Riley would return to Corvallis as the Head Coach once again, taking the Beavers to eight bowl games and three Top 25 finishes in 11 seasons. In 2012, he would notch his 75th career win at OSU, passing Lon Stiner as the all-time winningest coach in Oregon State history.
CONFERENCE: Pac-12 (North)
LOCATION: Corvallis, Oregon
STADIUM: Reser Stadium
2013 Schedule/Results: 7-6 (4-5 Pac-12)
|Saturday, August 31||(FCS) Eastern Washington||L 46-49||(0-1)|
|Saturday, September 7||Hawaii||W 33-14||(1-1)|
|Saturday, September 14||@ Utah||W 51-48 (OT)||(2-1, 1-0 Pac-12)|
|Saturday, September 21||@ San Diego State||W 34-30||(3-1, 1-0 Pac-12)|
|Saturday, September 28||Colorado||W 44-17||(4-1, 2-0 Pac-12)|
|Saturday, October 5||BYE||N/A|
|Saturday, October 12||@ Washington State||W 52-24||(5-1, 3-0 Pac-12)|
|Saturday, October 19||@ California||W 49-17||(6-1, 4-0 Pac-12)|
|Saturday, October 26||Stanford||L 12-20||(6-2, 4-1 Pac-12)|
|Friday, November 1||USC||L 14-31||(6-3, 4-2 Pac-12)|
|Saturday, November 9||BYE||N/A|
|Saturday, November 16||@ Arizona State||L 17-30||(6-4, 4-3 Pac-12)|
|Saturday, November 23||Washington||L 24-69||(6-5, 4-4 Pac-12)|
|Friday, November 29||@ Oregon||L 35-36||(6-6, 4-5 Pac-12)|
Tuesday, December 24
|Boise State*||W 38-23||
(7-6, 4-5 Pac-12)
Game vs. Boise State was played at Aloha Stadium as the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
FIVE PLAYERS YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING OUT FOR:
1. Sean Mannion, Senior Quarterback, (6-5, 220), 2013 Stats: 4,662 yards, 66.3% completion rate, 37 TDs, 15 INTs
Since 2011, Mannion has been the guy for Mike Riley's offense, winning the starting job in just his second game as a redshirt freshman in 2011. 31 starts later, he is on the verge of breaking every Oregon State passing record in the books, and already holds 11 of them. His 10,436 career passing yards is second among active FBS quarterbacks, and is 1,891 shy of Matt Barkley's Pac-12 passing record. If the captain of the Beavers offenses can keep chugging forward in 2014, he'll shatter more records and rise up the NFL Draft boards when all is said and done.
2. Richard Mullaney, Junior Wide Receiver, (6-3, 199), 2013 Stats: 52 receptions, 788 yards, 3 TDs
With Brandin Cooks gone to the NFL, Sean Mannion will have to find a new favorite target in 2014. A name that has to be on the short list is Richard Mullaney. He was second behind Cooks for receiving yards on the team, and lead the team in Yards Per Catch with 15.2. While he may not be able to replicate the numbers Cooks had in 2013, Mullaney can still be the deep threat for the Beavers in 2014.
3. Steven Nelson, Senior Cornerback, (5-10, 195), 2013 Stats: 62 tackles, 8 Pass Breakups, 6 Interceptions
Among the seven defensive starters returning for the Beavers this fall are three members of the secondary, including Senior Steven Nelson, who will be the returning Interception leader in the Pac-12 this fall. He's a part of a secondary that allowed only 208 passing yards in conference games last year, and could be one of the better corners in the conference if he can improve off an impressive 2013.
4. Issac Seumalo, Junior Offensive Lineman, (6-3, 305), 2013 Stats: N/A
"But Chris, how can we watch out for an Offensive Lineman?"
Well, just watch opposing defenses struggle to get through the middle of the offensive line and then you'll see what I'm talking about. Seumalo became the first Freshman to start at Center for the Beavers since 1978, and ended his first year on several Freshman All-American lists.
A year later, he's started all 25 games in his career at Oregon State and is the most tenured lineman for the offense. If he can keep Sean Mannion off the turf this season, Seumalo could throw his hat in the ring for a Rimington award trophy at the end of the season.
5. Victor Bolden, Sophomore Wide Receiver/Kick Returner, (5-9, 165), 2013 Stats: 58 Kick Returns, 1,198 Return yards, 1 KRTD
Behind Brandin Cooks on the depth chart for all of last season, Bolden made his impact returning kicks for the Beavers, leading all of the Pac-12 with 1,198 return yards. Now with Cooks gone, he presents a dual-threat to defenses everywhere as a receiver and kick returner, and could be a new target for Mannion in his final year.
With Sean Mannion back for his Senior year running the Beavers offense, Stat fans will have their TVs tuned to Oregon State this fall. While he lost his #1 target in Brandin Cooks to the NFL, Mannion should have no problem turning a new face into a threat at Wide Receiver. He could stick with what he knows and try to make last years' #2 receiver Richard Mullaney his No. 1, or he could take a shot at younger players like Victor Bolden and make him a threat early on.
Senior Terron Ward and Junior Storm Woods split most of the carries out of the backfield, combining for a 1,000 yards rushing. While Mannion carries the bulk of the offensive yards for Oregon State, a heathy RB unit could help the Beavers balance the offense and keep some defenses off-guard.
While the defense lost their sacks leader in DL Scott Crichton, the LBs and Secondary could be some of the best the Pac-12 has to offer in 2014.
After suffering an injury last year against Hawaii, LB Michael Doctor was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA and returns to spearhead a group of Linebackers that combined for 170 tackles last season. If Doctor, Jabral Johnson, and D.J. Alexander can stay heathy this year, "Linebacker U" could be making it's way back to Corvallis very soon.
While the Warriors run game with Joey Ioesefa could be successful against the young Oregon State front line, how effective can a young Quarterback like Ikaika Woolsey be early on? The experienced secondary and linebacker for OSU will make it difficult for the Sophomore to be comfortable in the pocket with tight coverage and pressure all game long. If Hawaii can't contain Sean Mannion and the Beavers' pass offense, it'll be open season early in Honolulu.
Oregon State 45, Hawaii 24