OSU football: Quarterback Mannion will have knee surgery; out indefinitely

Quarterback Sean Mannion (4) joins teammate Markus Wheaton (2) on the sidelines of practice Monday afternoon. Mannion will have knee surgery and miss an undisclosed period of time. (Amanda Cowan | Corvallis Gazette-Times)

Oregon State starting quarterback Sean Mannion injured his left knee Saturday against Washington State and will be out this weekend at BYU and for the foreseeable future, coach Mike Riley said after Monday’s practice.

Mannion had an MRI and the plan is for him to have surgery soon. Riley wasn’t specific about the damage and Mannion did not talk to reporters because he went to see a doctor.

He did watch practice with a knee brace on and had a noticeable limp.

“We just found that out this morning,” Riley said. “Sean is not going to play. He’s going to have a surgery and will be out for an undetermined amount of time.”

Mannion was injured handing off the ball to a running back and was not hit. He finished the game and walked off the field without an issue.

Junior Cody Vaz will start Saturday and redshirt freshman walk-on Richie Harrington will be the backup. The other quarterback on the roster is Brent VanderVeen, a freshman the Beavers want to redshirt.

“It’s very disappointed for the young man,” Riley said of Mannion. “He invested a ton and he’s going to miss some time. Like I told him, he’ll be fine. The football stuff happens and you have to live with it. He’ll be back and be fine.”

Mannion had been playing well, leading the Beavers to a No. 10 ranking and the first 4-0 start since 2002. He’s second in the Pac-12 Conference in total offense (324.3 ypg) and fifth in efficiency (139.8 rating).

He is him second in the Pac-12 (339.5 ypg) and has thrown for 1,358 yards and seven touchdowns.

“At first we are bummed out because Sean is a great player and a great leader, but Cody Vaz is a great quarterback,” running back Storm Woods said. “I don’t think we’ll miss a beat. We’ll get ready this week and be ready for BYU.”

Riley remained upbeat about his team’s chances this week and the rest of the season when he made the announcement. He believes the offense will not change with Vaz.

“We are going to win the game with Cody,” Riley said. “Cody is a good quarterback. He has been preparing for this for a long time. He’ll be good and we’ll be ready to go.”

Vaz is in his fourth season with the Beavers, so he knows the system and has looked good in practice. Riley touted him as a second starting-level quarterback in training camp.

However, Vaz has not played in a game since his redshirt freshman season in 2010. He completed 6 of 17 passes for 48 yards in five relief appearances.

“I’m not rattled at all,” receiver Markus Wheaton said. “It hurts losing Sean but we have confidence in Cody. He has a real strong arm, just like Sean. He’s ready to play and he’s confident in himself.”

Vaz learned of his promotion before practice, while the rest of the team found out after practice. He was calm about the situation, but did plan to call his family in Lodi, Calif., to let them know about attending his first start.

“I’m pretty excited to be honest, and it has been a while since I’ve been a starting quarterback,” Vaz said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to practice this week and get better and get ready for the game.”

Mannion was also upbeat during practice. He watched Vaz run the team and took his place signaling in the plays.

“He said he is my No. 1 fan and I’ve been his No. 1 fan this whole time,” Vaz said. “We both support each other. It will be good to have him there with me helping me out.”

Cliff Kirkpatrick covers Oregon State sports for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at cliff.kirkpatrick@lee.net.

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