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San Diego State non-conference preview: Oregon State Beavers

San Diego State hosts Oregon State on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET, and the game will take place on CBS Sports Network.


San Diego State hosts Oregon State on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET, and the game will take place on CBS Sports Network.

Coach: Mike Riley (81-67, 12 years; two separate stints as head coach)

2012 record: (9-4) (6-3)

2012 season in review: With his job seemingly on the line, Mike Riley led the Beavers to a surprising nine-win season in 2012. Oregon State started the year by scoring big victories over ranked teams Wisconsin and UCLA and spent the rest of the season in the top 20 of the polls, reaching as high as seventh before an upset loss to Washington. Despite missing four games due to injury, starting quarterback Sean Mannion still threw for over 2,400 yards and 15 scores, to go along with the numbers put up by backup Cody Vaz (1,480 and 11 TDs). The Beavers' passing offense averaged over 307 yards per game -- good for 19th in the country. Oregon State's defense also managed to hold opponents to under 21 points per game, a figured that ranked them 22nd in all of college football.

Returning Offensive Starters: 8

Returning Defensive Starters: 7

Key Returning Starters: QB Sean Mannion, DE Scott Crichton (All-Pac-12), WR Brandin Cooks

2013 Strengths: Both Mannion and Vaz return in 2013, which will mean another interesting season using both under center. At the moment, there is no sure starter, but should one begin to slip up, that may give the advantage to the other. In the meantime, this is a dynamic dual-quarterback group that will have no trouble taking advantage of Brandin Cooks's speed as the new top receiving option. Defensively, everything starts with defensive end Scott Crichton up front, who is looking to see an increase from his impressive 10 sacks from last year. Chrichton's ability to get penetration at the line should also be a huge boost for the defensive backs. Oregon State returns three of four starters from a secondary that managed 20 interceptions in 2012 (seventh in the country) and allowed just 14 passing touchdowns all year.

2013 Weaknesses: Oregon State's running game was a non-factor in 2012, picking up just 124 yards per game. That will need to change this season as the team breaks in new receivers and continues to figure out this whole two-passer system they have in place. Both Storm Woods and Terron Ward have significant experience and will be tasked with carrying more of the load on the ground. On defense, the Beavers replace both of last year's starting defensive tackles, which will prove a challenge early on. Should Joe Lopez, Edwin Delva and Siale Hautau struggle to fill the tackle spots, it will shut down Crichton's pass-rushing ability; spelling trouble for the whole defense.

For more information on the Oregon State Beavers check out SB Nation blog Building The Dam.